Harlequin will continue its efforts in 2002 to grow its single title business as part of its strategy to lessen its dependence on sales of its Harlequin romance series, executives at the publisher's parent company Torstar told analysts at a meeting in January. For the 12-month period from September 30, 2000, through September 30, 2001, single-title sales represented 25.6% of Harlequin revenues, compared to 6.5% in the same period 10 years ago, in 1990—1991.
Another growth initiative for 2002 is to "harness" the Internet to boost sales. The Internet accounted for 4.6% of the sale of books for the period ended September 30, 2001, a figure that is below the level of online sales registered by more mainstream publishers. More effective use of eHarlequin, the company's online book club, is one way executives hope to use the Internet to increase sales.
Increasing growth in its overseas operations (those outside North America) is another initiative planned for the year, with particular attention being given to expanding in Latin America. Overseas markets accounted for 36.5% of book sales in the period ended September 30, 2001. The company has cut back in selected international markets, including ending its joint venture test in China. Bob Steacy, chief financial officer of Torstar, said "government control" of the publishing process made it too difficult to do business in the country. The company has also consolidated some of its Eastern European operations. The two moves are expected to save C$2 million in 2002.
Other cost-saving measures for 2002 include reducing the costs of eHarlequin by C$5 million and cutting costs in the Creativity division, which sells arts and crafts and other non-book items, by C$6 million.
Harlequin Book Sales by Channel
Sept. 30, 2000—20011
|Channel||% of Sales|
|1 Excludes sales from the Creativity division, which accounted for 9% of Harlequin total revenues. |