Bloomsbury Publishing's sales grew 13% in the first half of the year, boosted by a particularly strong performance from the children’s and educational department.
For the six months ending 31st August 2015, turnover totalled £52.7m, 13% higher than £46.6m for the same period in 2014.
Adjusted profit before taxation increased 11.8% to £1.9m, although profit before taxation was £0.3m, compared to £0.5m in 2014.
Chief executive Nigel Newton said the first six months of the year was a “good period for Bloomsbury in both print and digital” and that the children’s and educational division, which saw revenues increase 45%, “delivered an exceptional performance”.
The children’s division was boosted by sales of the new children's editions of J K Rowling’s Harry Potter series, John Green’s Paper Towns and new titles by Louis Sachar and Sarah J Maas also “performed strongly”. The group also highlighted the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, with drawings by Jim Kay, the book was not published until 6th October, but Bloomsbury said it had sold rights in the illustrations to 27 foreign language publishers making the publication “a truly global event”.
Digital sales in the children’s department grew 57% to £1.3m and operating profit increased 60% to £1.6m.
In the adult division, revenues grew 6% to £20.4m, including a £3.2m contribution from Osprey Publishing, which Bloomsbury acquired in December 2015. Key titles for the period were Sheila Hancock’s Miss Carter’s War and Celia Imrie’s Not Quite Nice.
However, excluding Osprey’s contribution, revenues were down 11% in the adult division to £17.2m, which Bloomsbury said was due to fewer bestsellers than last year. The operating loss increased from £0.2m to £0.4m, including a £0.3m operating profit contribution from Osprey Publishing.
Revenues from the academic and professional department increased 3% to £14.4m.
Looking forward to the next six months of the year, Bloomsbury is expecting stronger sales in the run-up to Christmas.
“Traditionally, sales of trade titles peak for Christmas and sales of academic titles peak in the autumn at the beginning of the academic year,” said Newton. “We therefore expect our sales to be significantly second-half weighted, as in the past.”
The directors have declared an interim dividend of 1.06 pence per share, which is a 4% increase on the dividend paid for the six months ending 31st August 2014 (1.02 pence per share).