Scholastic had a relatively flat second quarter of fiscal 2020. For the second period ended November 30, 2019, revenue fell 1% from the comparable quarter in fiscal 2019, dropping to $597.2 million. Net income dipped to $$71.1 million, from $71.6 million a year ago.
All of Scholastic’s three operating groups had small revenue declines in the quarter. In its largest division, its children’s book publishing and distribution group, revenue fell 1%, to $413.6 million. The trade unit was a bright spot, with sales up 8%, to $103.6 million. Scholastic noted that the trade division had difficult comparisons with last year’s second quarter when Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and The Wonky Donkey together accounted for nearly $13 million. Top-sellers in the most recent quarter included Raina Telgemeier’s Guts, Alan Gratz’s Allies, Maggie Stiefvater’s Call Down the Hawk, The Dinky Donkey, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Illustrated Edition.
Book fair sales rose 2%, to $224.1 million, with planned lower fair counts offset by higher revenue per fair compared to fairs held in last year’s second quarter. Book club sales fell 15%, to $85.9 million, due in part to lower teacher sponsors.
In Scholastic’s education group, revenue fell 2%, to $69.9 million. Sales in the international division slipped 1%, to $113.7 million.
For the first six months of fiscal 2020, revenue was up just under 1% over the first half of fiscal 2019, to $829.8 million, and net income jumped 22%, to $12.6 million. Scholastic said it remains on track to report total sales in fiscal 2020 to be between $1.67 billion and $1.70 billion, up from $1.65 billion last year. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to range between $140 million and $160 million, up from $121.3 million in fiscal 2019.