‘Reading has become a newfound habit’: Bloomsbury profits soar to record high as readers buy novels
- Bloomsbury saw annual sales rise 24% to £230.1, new figures show
- Group profit jumped 40% to £26.7million in the past year, the group says
- Boss says pandemic book boom continued as restrictions eased
Bloomsbury Publishing saw its profits and revenue surge last year as consumers’ appetite for post-Covid reading continued unabated.
The group posted its “highest” results ever, with sales up 24% to £230.1m and profits up 40% to £26.7m.
Sales and profit increased by 41% and 70% respectively compared to two years ago.
Based on the company’s strong results, shareholders will see their final dividend jump 24% to 9.4 per share, totaling £7.7 million.
Back to books: Bloomsbury Publishing saw profits and revenue rise last year
“The surge in reading, which seemed to be one of the only ray of light in the darkest days of the pandemic, may now be revealed as permanent, the simple act of reading illuminating and giving joy to million people,” boss Nigel Newton said.
Newton added: “The question on all of our minds was: would the pandemic reading surge continue? We now know the answer: reading has become a newfound habit and continues to thrive.
“The pandemic has caused us all to re-evaluate how we spend our time and this has led to increased sales of books that allow us to explore our hobbies and personal interests such as cooking, fitness, l history and novel reading for enlightenment and escape. ‘
The the total dividend for the year ending February 28 will be 10.74p per share, representing a 21% increase from the dividend value of 8.86p for the year ending February 28, 2021.
Consumer sales increased by 25%, continuing the momentum of the previous year, and the division achieved a 25% increase in profit before tax to £17.8 million.
Sales to non-consumers jumped 23% and the division recorded a 68% rise in pre-tax profit to £9.1million.
Amid the growth of e-learning, Bloomsbury’s Digital Resources arm ‘surpassed the target set six years ago’ of £15m in sales and £5m in profit, guaranteeing sales of £18.6m, up 50% from last year, and profit of £6.8m, up £3.9m from a year ago one year old.
During its last financial year, the group made three acquisitions, buying ABC-CLIO LLC, the Red Globe Press list and Head of Zeus Limited.
Looking ahead, Bloomsbury said: “Dealing for 2022/23 has begun in line with Board expectations. Bloomsbury plans to invest heavily in continued organic growth and new acquisitions based on our strong financial position. and our proven strategy.
Bloomsbury Stocks rose today and was up 2.1% 388p by late afternoon, after rising more than 14% last year.
Fiona Orford-Williams, director of the Edison Group, said: “As the economic backdrop deteriorates, it should be noted that book sales have historically weathered downturns in consumption very well.
“The relatively low cover prices mean they offer value for money entertainment and are well suited to the personal gift market.”