Citing a 95% increase in the number of its home-based sales reps, sales at Educational Development Corp. jumped 81% in the fiscal year ended February 2, 2021, over fiscal 2020, rising to $204.6 million, from $113 million a year ago. Profits soared 125%, to $12.6 million.

The increase came entirely from EDC's Usborne Books & More sales division, where sales rose to $196 million, from $103 million in fiscal 2020. Sales in its publishing division fell 11.3%, to $8.6 million. The sales group, which primarily sells titles from Usborne and books published by EDC's Kane Miller publishing division, saw its number of sales consultants jump to 57,600 at the end of the fiscal year, compared to 29,600 a year ago.

EDC chairman Randall White attributed the increase in the number of home sales reps to a number of factors, including more families looking for non-traditional income streams to supplement, or replace, income lost from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to a change in new consultant kits that offered lower introductory prices. Sales have also benefited from the growth in online sales, which has become EDC's most important sales channel. To facilitate growth there, EDC has upgraded its proprietary systems to make it easier for consultants to run their businesses.

White did not offer a financial forecast for fiscal 2022, but sounded optimistic, and sales in the fourth quarter in EDC's publishing division increased 21% in the fourth quarter.. He noted that a number of sales channels through which EDC sells its titles, particularly schools and libraries, are reopening after pandemic-induced lockdowns. And, he added, as more bookstores reopen for in-person browsing, sales of Kane Miller titles should improve.