Sales drop 2.5% at Lagardère

Sales drop 2.5% at Lagardère

Lagardère Publishing has reported a net sale decrease of 2.5% on a like-for-like basis in its third quarter, attributing the drop to weaker sales in English-speaking countries and the "impact of e-books".

The company has reported its Lagardère Publishing arm achieved net sales of €601m (£515m), a decrease of 2.5% on a like-for-like basis. While education and general literature in France gave "solid performances", the company said more challenging market conditions in English-speaking countries and the impact of e-books, meant overall sales had been weaker. Lagardère said: "When stripping out the Stephenie Meyer phenomenon, net sales would have increased slightly."

In the UK, Hachette said e-book sales had increased by 500% in the third quarter in comparison to 2010 and now accounted for 9% of the company’s net sales in the first nine months of the year. In the US, e-book sales accounted for 21% of sales for the first nine months. Hachette UK said lower sales in print had been mitigated by strong sales of e-books, particularly in fiction.

The postponed release of Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell, Jonny Wilkinson's autobiography and The Thread by Victoria Hislop had a "negative impact" on sales for Hachette in quarter three. However, the company said these will be made up in quarter four, when Hachette expects a strong performance.
Net sales for the Lagardère Group came to €1,982m (£1,698m), up 1.3% on a like-for-like basis.

The company said: "The Lagardère group's revenue trends improved in the third quarter of 2011 compared with the first half, particularly in the Lagardère Active and Lagardère Services divisions. These performances, in a highly uncertain economic and financial environment, demonstrate the validity of the group's strategic choices, including diversification into various businesses and geographical regions, reduced exposure to the advertising market, positioning in growth sectors (Travel Retail) and successful adjustment to technological changes (the emergence of e-books).

"The Lagardère group thus looks to the future with caution but also with confidence, based on its strengths, including healthy finances, strong brand names, and solid leadership in its business lines."