Although sales in the first quarter ended May 31, 1999, were flat at $4.1 million, compared to the first period of fiscal 1999, Educational Development Corp. president Randall White told shareholders that "the storm appears to be over, and the sun is breaking through."After two years of declining sales, the first quarter results indicate that EDC has gotten the "sales momentum headed back in the right direction,"White said.

White is particularly excited about prospects for EDC's home business division, which currently has 3400 independent sales consultants and recently held its national convention, where attendance jumped 65% over last year; recruitment also increased. In the fiscal year ended February 28, 1999, the home business division had sales of $8.9 million, down from $10.7 million in fiscal 1998. White is confident that a new compensation package as well as additional consultants will boost sales in the home division in the current year.

The publishing division, which handles sales to retail accounts, is expected to benefit from a recent restructuring in which large key accounts were reassigned to EDC's in-house marketing staff. Sales in the division slipped to $7.8 million from $8.6 million in fiscal '98. The publishing division is also looking to increase its sales to the gift market and plans to increase its attendance at gift shows by 50%.

The company is predicting its frontlist of Usborne books will hit 110 this year, and EDC expects to launch a new CD-ROM-based reading and phonics program this fall.