After a long string of quarterly sales gains, Educational Development Corp. reported that sales and earnings for the first quarter, ended May 31, fell compared to the first period of fiscal 2019.

Total revenue dropped 8% in the quarter, to $27.6 million, from the comparable period a year ago. Earnings fell to $1.3 million, from $1.8 million in last year’s first quarter.

While sales in its publishing group had a 1% gain, to just over $2.3 million, revenue in its direct sales division fell 9%, to $25.2 million. EDC chairman, president, and CEO Randall White blamed the decrease on a decline in home sales reps. The number of reps dropped by about 3,500 people, to 31,600. He said that in February 2018 EDC “ran the most successful recruiting special in the history of the company” and added 8,800 reps, which helped drive double digit sales growth.

White said that while the decline in reps was not totally unexpected, the company is taking steps to once again to increase the number of reps. Specifically, White said EDC is developing more technology-friendly sales tools to attract late millennial and early 'Gen Z' reps. “Several of our new mobility initiatives are being rolled out this summer and our consultants are excited to begin using them," White said.

Although White did not provide any financial guidance for the rest of fiscal 2020 during a brief conference call to discuss results he did say he doesn’t believe the first quarter performance is indicative of the results the company will post for the full year.”