A small frontlist and weak sales for its automotive manuals led to a revenue shortfall of 27% for Haynes’ UK business in the three months to the end of February, the company’s interim trading statement has shown.
Haynes Group’s total revenue was down by 7% in the three months to the end of February 2014 compared to the same period the year before, but group revenue in the nine months to February 28th 2014 was 4% up on the same period last year.
In the UK there was a revenue shortfall of 27%, due to “a smaller but more focused front-list publishing programme for our non-automotive titles coupled with weaker third quarter trading for our core automotive manuals”.
Overall third quarter UK and European revenue was down 17%.
Haynes’ statement said: “However we are optimistic that the focus on higher margin manuals will have a positive impact on future UK sales.”
There were three voluntary redundancies in the UK business following the restructure of the group’s “global automotive editorial functions” at the beginning of March this year.
The expected cost of the automotive editorial restructuring will be £0.2m, increasing the total restructuring costs in the financial year to £1.5m.
Haynes said: “Management expects the resulting cost savings to the UK business will be £0.6m in 2014/15, anticipated to increase to £0.8m in 2015/16.”
Haynes announced a restructure in September, which included a merger of its automotive and general book publishing editorial teams.
For the nine months to February 28th this year, UK and European revenue in total was down 2% with UK revenue down 11% against the prior period. Haynes said: “Encouragingly, we have continued our strong growth in European digital sales, with revenue ahead of last year by 15%.”
Business highlights in the UK included the transfer of Haynes’ UK distribution to Grantham Book Services (GBS), part of Penguin Random House.
Overall North American and Australian revenue for the first nine months of the financial year was 10% ahead of the prior year.