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S&S first quarter 'worse than expected'
08.05.09 | Katie Allen
Simon & Schuster's c.e.o. Carolyn Reidy has labelled its first quarter results "somewhat worse" than the management expected, after the publisher posted a 20% decline in sales and an operating loss.
Sales declined 19.8% to $161.7m in the quarter to end-March 2009, and the publishing house reported an operating loss of $2.1m compared to operating income of $14.6m over the same period last year. Parent company CBS said the sales drop reflected "a soft retail market and the timing of the releases of titles", while the profits fall was "driven by the revenue decline partially offset by lower expenses resulting from cost-savings initiatives". The news comes just a day after HarperCollins Worldwide reported a decline in sales of 20%.
Reidy told US trade paper Publishers Weekly that the results were "somewhat worse than our original expectations". Reidy said S&S was keeping a tight rein on costs in every aspect of the company and continued to monitor staffing levels, noting that job cuts were a last resort.
Reidy blamed slower frontlist sales compared to a year ago when The Secret and Stephen King’s Duma Key were selling well, plus lower backlist sales and little sales carryover from titles released during the 2008 holiday season for the down quarter. Reidy said she has “high hopes” that forthcoming titles will result in an upturn in business, citing Stephen King, Joel Osteen, Glenn Beck, Vince Flynn and Philippa Gregory plus S&S newcomer Audrey Niffenegger.