‘Reading has become a reacquired habit’: Bloomsbury profits blossom to record high as readers lap up novels
- Bloomsbury saw its annual sales rise by 24% to £230.1, new figures show
- The group’s profit jumped by 40% to £26.7m over the past year, group says
- Boss says pandemic boom for books has continued as restrictions eased
Bloomsbury Publishing saw its profits and revenue surge in the last year as consumers’ post-Covid appetite for reading continued unabated.
The group raked in its ‘highest’ ever results, with sales up 24 per cent to £230.1million and profits up 40 per cent to £26.7million.
Sales and profits are up 41 per cent and 70 per cent, respectively, from two years ago.
On the back of the company’s strong results, shareholders will see their final dividend jump by 24 per cent to 9.4p a share, totalling £7.7million.
Back to books: Bloomsbury Publishing saw its profits and revenue surge in the last year
‘The surge in reading, which seemed to be one of the only rays of light in the darkest days of the pandemic is perhaps now being revealed as permanent, with the simple act of reading shedding light and giving joy to millions of people’, boss Nigel Newton, said.
Newton added: ‘The question on all of our minds was: would the pandemic surge in reading continue? We now know the answer: reading has become a reacquired habit and continues to thrive.
‘The pandemic made us all re-evaluate how we spend our time and this has resulted in an increase in sales of books that enable us to explore our hobbies and personal interests such as cooking, fitness, history and reading novels for enlightenment and escape.’
The total dividend for the year ending 28 February will be 10.74p per share, representing a 21 per cent increase on the 8.86p value of the dividend for the year ended 28 February 2021.
Consumer sales increased by 25 per cent, continuing the momentum of the year before, and the division achieved a 25 per cent boost in pre-tax profit to £17.8million.
Non-consumer sales jumped 23 per cent, and the division saw a 68 per cent increase in pre-tax profit to £9.1million.
Amid the growth of online learning, Bloomsbury’s Digital Resources arm ‘outperformed the target set six years ago’ of £15million worth of sales and £5million of profit, securing sales of £18.6million, up 50 per cent on last year, and a profit of £6.8million, up £3.9million on a year ago.
During its last fiscal year, the group made three acquisitions, snapping up ABC-CLIO LLC, the Red Globe Press list and Head of Zeus Limited.
Looking ahead, Bloomsbury said: ‘Trading for 2022/23 has started in line with the Board’s expectations. Bloomsbury plans to invest robustly in continued organic growth and further acquisitions based on our strong financial position and proven strategy.’
Bloomsbury shares rose today, and were up 4.3 per cent or 16.34p to 396.34p in early morning trading, having risen over 14 per cent in the past year.
Fiona Orford-Williams, a director at Edison Group, said: ‘With the worsening economic backdrop, it’s worth noting that book sales have historically held up very well in consumer downturns.
‘The relatively low cover prices mean that they provide good value entertainment and are very suitable for the personal gifting market.’