The launch of some new imprints and another good year for a number of its most popular series combined to boost sales at Quarto Group by 19%, to $151.5 million, in 2021 over 2020. Adjusted operating profit jumped 51%, to $ 16 million.
Sales in the U.S. rose 22.7%, to $93.4 million, for the U.K.-based publisher. U.K. sales increased 11%, to $20.2 million, and sales in Europe increased 21.8%, to $21.2 million.
The publisher’s large backlist accounted for 58% of total sales last year. Among its best performing series were Little People Big Dreams, which had sales of $10 million, followed by the Story Orchestra line, which had sales of $2.5 million, and Creative Keepsakes, which accounted for over $2 million, the company reported. Another key to the sales gain, Quarto said, was a 66% increase in sales in the value and discount channel, where sales hit $26 million.
During the year, Quarto made a number of structural and organizational changes, including replacing its CEO, Polly Powell, who left in July, with Alison Goff, who assumed the role January 2 of this year. The company also restructured its U.S. trade imprints and reorganized them under two creative hubs in New York and Beverly, Mass. Becker & Mayer, the imprint that produced licensed books for third parties, is working the New York group to publish its own titles. The Beverly group also includes the Motorbooks and Walter Foster imprints.
Looking at 2022, Quarto said the main challenge it sees is rising freight costs, “which will put significant pressure on our margins and we expect paper and capacity issues to persist.” Still, the company expects that its backlist will continue to sell well and it will also be on the lookout for acquisitions.