Hachette UK reports 'strong' growth but parent company Lagardère's profits fall

Hachette UK reports 'strong' growth but parent company Lagardère's profits fall

Hachette UK has reported 'strong' sales growth in 2018, although parent company Lagardère saw profits fall 9.6%.

In a report on its final year results, from 1st January to 31st December, Lagardère reported earnings falling from €210m to €190m due to a decline in education results for the UK, France and Spain. Revenues, first revealed in a provisional report last month, fell 1.6% on a consolidated basis.

The company said sales across its operations of digital audio rose by 30%, making up 2.7% of its total revenue for the year, although e-book sales took a tumble.

At its UK business, revenue slipped by 0.5% which was also put down to a decline in the education market. But the report said this had been partially offset by strong performance in general literature, including books like J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff.

Hachette UK said it had beaten its sales budget in 2018, with growth of 7.1%, although exact figures have not been revealed by the publisher or its parent company. The growth was partly attributed to the acquisition of Bookouture, Summersdale, Kyle Books and Jessica Kingsley Publishers the previous year. It said there had also been “organic growth across many of the company’s longest-established lists”.

It singled out some of the big-hitters from its array of imprints, with Brief Answers to Big Questions by Stephen Hawking (John Murray Press) being one of Hachette’s biggest selling titles of the year. Orion’s Listening to the Animals: Becoming a Supervet and Ordnance Survey Puzzle Book performed well at Christmas, the publisher said. Other non-fiction titles including Factfulness (Sceptre) Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different (Quercus) and Michael Caine’s Blowing the Bloody Doors Off (Hodder & Stoughton) all performed well.

Alongside Rowling, and her pseudonym Robert Galbraith’s Lethal White (Little, Brown) the company highlighted Ian Rankin’s In a House of Lies (Orion) and John Grisham’s The Reckoning as its biggest fiction titles.

In a statement, Hachette UK said: “2018 was another year of exceptional double-digit growth in audio and despite a general downturn in the e-book market, Hachette held level and was, once again, estimated by The Bookseller to be the top e-book publisher.

“Hodder Education remains the second largest education publisher in the UK and despite very stretched school budgets and no curriculum change in the year, it tracked the market in the UK and delivered excellent results particularly in the areas of Assessment and in international markets.

“Hachette India celebrated its 10th anniversary with another strong year of sales and profit. Over the course of the second half of the year, publishers distributed by LBS moved into the new Hely Hutchinson Centre, which is the most ambitiously conceived distribution centre of its kind in Europe.

“Changing the Story, HUK’s diversity and inclusion movement, went from strength to strength with over 800 members of staff actively engaged. The company’s commitment is reflected in its publishing including in the successful launch of Dialogue Books.”