Penguin's half year results hit by tough conditions

<p>Penguin Group&#39;s results for the first half of 2009 show sales up 11% on a headline basis to &pound;452m, with operating profit down 19% to &pound;21m. But on an underlying basis sales were down 6%, with operating profit down 23%.</p><p>The publisher said it had delivered a &quot;resilient&quot; trading performance in challenging markets around the world, with numbers adversely impacted by the illustrated reference market and an unusually strong first half of 2008. It said the half year figures reflected the benefit of currency, notably the strength of the dollar versus the pound compared to the first half of 2008. Earlier this month Penguin UK revealed that it was to make about 100 people redundant from its London office, about 10% of its workforce, though denied that this was because of current trading. </p><p>Penguin Group chairman and chief executive John Makinson said: &quot;We have held our own in challenging markets and are feeling extremely positive about our publishing line-up for the balance of the year.&quot;</p><p>Highlights of the first half of 2009 included six UK number one bestsellers and an &quot;exceptional&quot; performance from Puffin with sales up 14.5% year to date. Nielsen BookScan figures show that Penguin&#39;s sales fell 8.3% in the first half at a retail level, with Dorling Kindersley and Rough Guides the poorest performers. </p><p>In the US, Penguin achieved a &quot;record&quot; 18 number one New York Times bestsellers. E-books grew four times over the first half of 2008, underlining the increasing significance of digital revenue, the publisher said.</p>