Jobs to go as Harlequin sees sales drop

Jobs to go as Harlequin sees sales drop

Harlequin parent company Torstar has announced restructuring in its book publishing and general media divisions, with approximately 105 positions to be made redundant across the business, reflecting "ongoing efforts to reduce costs".
The news came as sales at Harlequin, the company's book publishing arm, fell 4% in the first quarter to CA$102.5m (£65.7m), with operating profit dropping 27% to CA$14.9m (£9.5m) over the period, a decrease of CA$5.6m (£3.6m) from the same period last year.

Harlequin has taken a restructuring charge of CA$2.3m (£1.5m) for the period, and expects to save CA$2.1m (£1.3m) annually through the staff reductions. This would equate to approximately 20 to 30 positions being lost, with the savings across the business through job cuts anticipated to be CA$11.1m (£7.1m). It is currently unclear how the redundancies will affect the UK business.

Over the first quarter, digital comprised 23.4% of Harlequin's revenues, up from 20.5% this time last year, with the increase attributed to the "growth in digital revenue in overseas markets".

The fall in operating earnings for Harlequin over the first quarter was attributed to "higher author royalties for digital sales and lower revenues and [was] partially offset by lower advertising and promotional spending and CA$0.4m (£0.25m) of savings from restructuring initiatives".

Meanwhile, sales at Torstar fell 5% in its first quarter, down to CA$313m (£200.6m) and operating profit dropped almost 60%, down to CA$9.3m (£6m).

President and c.e.o. of Torstar David Holland said: "At Harlequin, our objective for 2013 continues to be delivering relatively stable results assuming global economic conditions do not deteriorate. As expected, Harlequin's year-over-year results in the first half of the year will be negatively affected by factors such as the transition to higher digital royalty rates which will cease to be a factor after the second quarter of this year."