A loss in its gift division combined with an $8.6-million write-off associated with its decision to sell its Ceres candle subsidiary resulted in a net loss of $2.8 million at Thomas Nelson for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2001, compared to a net income of $9.9 million in the prior year. Total revenues in the year rose 12.2%, to $298 million.

Nelson's publishing group, led by its Word imprint and Tommy Nelson children's division, had a strong year with sales ahead 17.7%, to $214.1 million. Rutledge Hill also performed well in its first full year as part of Nelson.

Sales in the gift group were up by less than 1.o%, to $83.8 million. In April, Nelson said it was considering its options for the gift unit (News, Apr. 30), and Nelson chairman Sam Moore said in a conference call that the company should know what it plans to do with the unit in about one month. Moore said that while the company's restructuring efforts have improved the gift group's results, the gift business has a number of characteristics that are different from its book business, making it difficult to meld the two units. "Synergy was harder to achieve than we thought," Moore said.

Moore is expecting modest gains in sales and earnings for Nelson in fiscal 2002. He said early trends show a softening in the CBA market, but improvement in the general market. Moore noted that with the slow economy, Nelson is being "vigilant" in its credit and collection functions.