Hachette UK has reported a "strong first half" of trading for 2019, with sales "fractionally down" on last year as revenue increases 6.7% for parent company Lagardère.
In a report of its half year results up to 30th June 2019, Lagardère reported sustained growth in revenue of €3,612m up 6.7% like-for-like and group EBIT up €14 million to €153 million mainly driven by growth at Lagardère Travel Retail as well as by a good performance from Lagardère Sports and Entertainment.
Figures for the UK business were not broken out, but Hachette UK c.e.o. David Shelley said: "HUK ended a strong first half, fractionally below its sales for the same period last year, largely as a result of publication of Fire and Fury in the period in 2018, but considerably up on budget for the same period."
Strong sellers for the first half of 2019 include Brief Answers to Big Questions by Stephen Hawking (John Murray), which has sold 218,620 copies through BookScan since publication in October 2018, and big name authors including John Grisham’s The Reckoning (Hodder), Stephen King’s The Outsider (Hodder) and Victoria Hislop’s Those who are Loved (Headline). Hachette UK also highlighted the performance of Ian Rankin’s In a House of Lies (Orion) and Michael Connelly’s Dark, Sacred Night (Orion) which sold well alongside Robert Galbraith’s Lethal White (Sphere), Val McDermid’s Broken Ground (Little, Brown) and Sabrina Ghayour’s Bazaar (Mitchell Beazley).
Debut and breakout bestsellers include The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (Orion), which has shifted 16,319 copies through BookScan since February, Tangerine by Christine Mangan (Abacus) and Queenie by Candice Carty Williams (Trapeze). In children's, the award-winning The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q Rauf, which has sold 87,503 through BookScan since publication in July 2018, and Bryony Gordon’s You Got This, which has sold 25,185 since May 2019, are among the biggest children's sellers of the year.
Highlighting the performance of Bookouture, which was acquired in 2017, Shelley hailed the digitial specialist's "exceptional first half with sales considerably ahead of budget and 2018". Bookouture's biggest bestsellers (which are not captured in the TCM) are Angela Marsons’ Dead Memories, Shalani Boland’s Perfect Family and Sue Watson’s Our Little Lies.
Hodder Education also finished the first half ahead of budget and increased its overall market share to 22.8% as against 22.0% for the same period in 2018, thanks to an increase in sales in the secondary market and significant increases in vocational learning.
The first half of 2019 also saw Octopus Publishing acquire Short Books and the Hely Hutchinson Distribution Centre officially open. All Hachette publishers and a number of third party distribution clients are now being distributed from the centre. "The remaining publishers distributed by Bookpooint will move within the next eight months," Shelley said.
He added: "The programme across the group for the rest of the year is especially strong and we are predicting an excellent second half."