Harlequin sales down 8% in second quarter

Harlequin sales down 8% in second quarter

Harlequin's parent company Torstar has reported a drop in sales across its book publishing division in the second quarter.

Sales at Harlequin for the three months ended 30th June 2013 stood at $99.5m (CA), or £64m, down by $7.6m (£5m), a fall of 8% compared to the same period last year. Operating profit stood at $9.5m (£6m), dropping from $18m (£11.5m) last year, a fall of 53%.

President and c.e.o. David Holland described it as a "difficult quarter" at the Canadian corporation, which also owns a large newspaper business. He said: "It was a difficult quarter as declines in results were experienced in both the book publishing and media divisions… Harlequin results were down $7.6m. We had anticipated lower earnings at Harlequin in the quarter but not to this extent. Lower volumes, including a deterioration in overseas volumes were responsible for the shortfall relative to out expectations."

He predicted a further decline in results in the second half of the year, but said the company would benefit from higher digital royalty rates. He said: "Looking forward, Harlequin year over year results in the second half will benefit from the completion of the transition to higher digital royalty rates, price increases and restructuring efforts. However, we do expect a modest decline in results in the second half given the recent revenue challenges, particularly in overseas markets."

At the end of the first quarter, Torstar announced a restructuring of its book publishing and media divisions, with 105 positions made redundant in an attempt to reduce costs.