Indigo Books & Music, Canada's leading book retailer, reported strong second quarter results for the period ended October 2, 2021. Revenue was C$238.8 million, a 16% hike over the same period in 2020. With the increase in revenue, Indigo reported net earnings in the period of C$3.5 million, compared with a net loss of C$17.5 million a year ago.
Retail revenue was up 16.7%, to $159.6 million, compared to $136.8 million in the same period last year. Online sales fell 13.3% to C$54.6 million for the period, compared with C$63 million compared with last year.
In her comments about the results, CEO Heather Reisman said: "Our customers are clearly demonstrating a positive response to all aspects of our omnichannel approach delivering the second quarter revenues well above pre-pandemic levels."
In a conference call with investors, Reisman said higher book sales were driven in part by increased sales to younger consumers, fueled in part by engagement on TikTok. Craig Louden, Indigo's CFO and executive v-p of supply chain, noted that lower discounting and promotional expenses for the period led to an increase in overall margins.
Both Reisman and Louden underscored the company’s focus on increasing online revenue and pointed out that online sales are 85% higher today than they were pre-pandemic. “Our digital transformation remains on our #1 priority,” Louden said. Reisman added, without explanation or detail, that the company is planning “an enhanced digital experience” going forward. This quarter, Indigo recruited Martin Thibodeau as chief technology and information officer and promoted Andrea Limbardi to chief digital officer. Katharine Poulter was appointed chief commercial officer
Asked about current supply chain challenges, Louden said freight and fuel costs have increased significantly since the start of the year and he believes they will continue to be a factor impacting overall costs for the company well into 2022.
Questioned about the company’s commitment to being a bookseller, rather than a general lifestyle retailer, Reisman said, “The customer is telling ... they still value the role we play in books – that business remains strong and we are very happy with that. We [also] see greater potential in our lifestyle merchandise business. We will maintain a strong position in books, that is the foundation of our business.”