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Sales Down, Profits Up at Hachette
Herbert R. Lottman -- 4/27/98
Recently announced results from France's Hachette may remind book traders of the balance sheets of some of America's leading groups: sales down, profits up. In the context of the declining French market the 2.2% fall in the turnover of Hachette Livre (to some $785 million) was understandable, and CEO Jean-Louis Lisimachio specifically put the blame on the collapse of the direct-to-consumer reference business. Trade sales rose 1.5%. In addition to the flagship imprint, Hachette publishes under a number of well-known logos including semi-autonomous Grasset and Fayard, Chêne (illustrated and practical books) and paperback leader Livre de Poche.
Hachette is also a major player in the schools, under its own imprint and that of acquired Hatier, a free-standing affiliate acquired in 1996 for upward of $100 million (a figure revealed only now by Lisimachio). Hachette ranks as France's number-two publishing company, trailing Havas; together the two giants account for nearly half the total French book market.

In his announcement to the press, Lisimachio indicated satisfaction with the renaissance of Spanish subsidiary Salvat, once all but given up for lost. With upwards of $77 million in sales last year, the traditional Spanish reference and partworks house is expanding once again in Latin America as well as Portugal.
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