Double-digit profit growth at Random House UK

<p>Random House UK grew sales only marginally in 2009, thanks to its non-fiction books performing less well than in previous years, chief executive Gail Rebuck has told staff. However, the business still achieved &quot;double-digit&quot; profit growth, with all &quot;eligible staff&quot; now due to receive an additional payment under the company&#39;s profit share scheme.<br /><br />In what parent Bertelsmann described as &quot;a difficult economic environment&quot;, the Random House worldwide business saw revenues of &euro;1.7bn (&pound;1.55bn), up marginally from the year before. Profits stayed at &euro;137m, with return on sales also maintained at 8%. The sales performance included &quot;triple-digit&quot; increases in e-book sales at its main divisions. The UK group was highlighted for having &quot;reinforced its outstanding presence&quot; with 34 titles reaching the <em>Sunday Times</em> bestseller list.</p><p>Results for the UK business were not broken out, but in a letter to staff sent following the Bertelsmann announcement, Rebuck applauded &quot;everyone&#39;s hard work&quot; in fighting off the worst of the recession.<br /><br />&quot;Our turnover was only marginally up - as a result of non-fiction sales failing to reach the highs of previous years but compensated for by a strong fiction performance &ndash; but we still achieved double digit growth on our bottom line, thanks to the tough decisions we took early in the year; the strong performances of our overseas divisions, most notably Australia; our varied publishing list and our ongoing commitment to controlling our costs,&quot; she said.<br /><br />As a result, the company has awarded additional payments &quot;to all eligible staff under the 2009 Profit Share Scheme&quot;.<br /><br />Looking ahead, Rebuck said the company&#39;s challenge was &quot;to harness the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of our teams to ensure that we fully explore all opportunities in whatever format they exist&quot;. She alluded to the launch of &quot;exciting new digital projects&quot;, saying more news would be made public &quot;shortly&quot;.<br /><br />Rebuck added: &quot;We are in rapidly changing times but in the very fortunate position that we can draw upon our fantastic heritage of literary fiction as well as our reach from mass market publishing and combine these with new, exciting consumer-driven digital initiatives &ndash; undreamed of by previous generations.&quot;<br /><br />The Bertelsmann group saw revenues decline from &euro;16.25bn to &euro;15.36bn, while profits fell from &euro;1.56bn to &euro;1.42bn.<br /><br />Regarding Random House, the report said: &quot;Thanks to commercially strong publishing programs, cost reductions in all core divisions, and exchange-rate effects, the company maintained its income even year on year.&quot;<br /><br />The results also revealed the changes in staff. Worldwide - across more than 120 imprints - Random House ended 2009 with 5,432 employees - down from 5,779 the year before.</p>