Results in Courier Corp.'s book manufacturing and publishing segments reflected the different trends affecting the industry in the quarter ended December 29, 2001. Revenues in its book manufacturing segment fell 17% in the period to $38.3 million, while sales at Dover Publications remained flat at $8.5 million.
Company chairman Jim Conway observed that while holiday sales were better than expected for retailers, both publishers and retailers took "aggressive inventory control measures" in the period that resulted in reduced orders to printers. The strong holiday sales did permit Dover to maintain sales levels comparable to the quarter in 2000, despite the fact that revenues in the prior year were inflated by extra shipments, due to the backlog of orders that had resulted from Courier's purchase of the publisher. Orders were up 11% in the most recent quarter compared to the 2000 period.
According to Courier, orders fell in all three manufacturing segments, with sales to the trade market off the most, falling 24%. Sales to the education market decreased 21%, with orders down in both the elhi and college segments. Sales fell 8% to the religious market due primarily to "manufacturing issues." The company said it expects orders from the religious segment to be up "significantly" in the second quarter. In fact, Conway predicted that by the second half of fiscal 2002 demand for all books will begin to grow as excess inventory is reduced.
Conway also continues to expect strong results from Dover over the course of the year, predicting double-digit growth in sales and earnings. For the entire company, total revenues for fiscal '02 are projected to be in the $210-million to $215-million range. In fiscal 2001, revenues were $211.9 million.