U.K.-based Bloomsbury continued to operate on all cylinders in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2023. In the year, Bloomsbury “achieved its best ever performance,” chairman Nigel Newton declared. Revenue rose 15%, to £264.1 million, and pretax profits also increased 15%, to £25.4 million.
Three acquisitions made in fiscal 2021 and 2022, including the purchase of California-based ABC-CLIO, contributed sales of £32.5 million. “These results demonstrate the strength of our strategy to publish for both the consumer and the academic markets, unusual in our industry, and to grow digital revenues while expanding globally,” Newton said.
In fiscal 2023, Bloomsbury’s non-consumer group, which is comprised of the academic and professional division and Bloomsbury Digital Resources (BDR), had total sales of £97.4 million, making for an increase of 19%. Within the group, academic and professional sales rose 28%, to £75.7 million, in the year, while revenue at BDR jumped 41%, to £26.2 million, helped by the acquisition of ABC-CLIO.
The success of the non-consumer business notwithstanding, Bloomsbury’s trade operations remain its largest business, and sales rose 12% in fiscal 2023, to £166.7 million. The increase was led by the company’s children’s division, which had sales of £108.9 million, a 17% increase over fiscal 2022. Sales in the adult division rose 5%, to £57.8 million. Highlights in the year include a 51% increase in sales of Sarah J. sMaas titles and continued strong sales of Harry Potter books.
In addition to expanding into non-consumer areas, another objective for Newton has been to broaden Bloomsbury’s global reach. In fiscal 2023, overseas sales accounted for 73% (about £193 million) of the publisher’s total revenue, the highest percentage ever, Newton said. The linchpin to its worldwide growth has been the U.S., which generated about 48% of total Bloomsbury revenue, approximately £127 million, or $157 million at current exchange rates.
With its good year, in addition to raising its stock dividend by 10%, Bloomsbury employees received a one-time payment of £1,250 in February 2023, in addition to a permanent salary increase of £1,000 per year beginning October 1, 2022, to help with the cost of living.
Early results in fiscal 2024 are in line with expectations, Bloomsbury reported, and it expects revenue in fiscal 2024 to increase about 3%, to £272.1 million, and profit before taxation and one-time items to be £32.2 million, a 3.5% increase. The company added it will continue to look for acquisitions in the year.