Connect Books achieved a strong Christmas trading period, with like-for-like sales up 15.1% across its wholesale business and online platform Wordery.
The Connect Group released a trading update this morning (26th January), for the 20 week period to 21st January 2017, revealing that total group revenues increased 0.2% compared to the same period last year, while like for like sales were up 0.6%.
Connect’s book business, which includes wholesaler Bertrams, online retailer Wordery and academic library supplier Dawson Books, outperformed Connect’s other arms in revenue terms, up 15.1% like-for-like year-on-year and 14.3% in total. The revenue increases were driven by “strong growth” in its wholesale business and competitive online platform Wordery, which has been growing fast since its launch by former Book Depository IT director Will Jones and four other partners four years ago.
Connect Books’ growth however was offset by “continued difficult trading conditions” in its higher margin library markets, the trading statement added. The library supply has been challenged for the last few years due to budgets cuts and closures across the sector.
Connect Books’ strong Christmas trading follows positive results also from Waterstones, Blackwell’s, Foyles and independent booksellers, which reported sales increases. WH Smith released its January trading statement yesterday, saying it had achieved “strong” Christmas trading boosted by sales of spoof humour titles, although, book sales were down 3% across the group, The Bookseller understands.
The week leading up to Christmas ranked the highest in value for the book trade since 2007, figures from Nielsen BookScan have shown. Altogether £83.3m worth of print books sold were sold in the run up to Christmas - the highest since 2007.
In September 2015, Connect Books bought the remaining 49% stake in Wordery from Jones and other founding partners Steve Potter, Rob Johnson, Lee Valentine and Tim Williams for an initial consideration of £5.1m and a possible further £3.3m.
At the time, Connect Books said investment in Wordery would now "be accelerated, improving the wordery.com website, expanding its international reach and increasing direct to consumer marketing to grow sales and brand awareness".