Courier Reports Growth in Book Manufacturing Segment
“At the same time, our other facilities were also busy, with a burst of orders for elementary and high school textbooks at our four-color plant in Kendallville, Indiana and increased production at our Philadelphia Scripture plant in conjunction with our expanding international role on behalf of our largest religious customer. As always, we continued to work closely with all our customers to stay on top of their needs and help them succeed in today’s evolving markets.”
Publishing launches key products in post-Borders marketplace
Courier’s specialty publishing segment includes three businesses: Dover Publications, a niche publisher with thousands of titles in dozens of specialty trade markets; Creative Homeowner, which publishes books on home design, decorating, landscaping and gardening; and Research & Education Association (REA), a publisher of test preparation books and study guides.
First-quarter revenues for the segment were $9.5 million, down 12 percent from last year’s first quarter. Sales were down 6 percent at Dover and down 28 percent at REA, reflecting the loss of Borders as a key customer and, in REA’s case, some sales attrition in advance of the release of its new All Access line of AP test preparation materials. Creative Homeowner sales were down 38 percent, as demand for books on home improvement continued to be depressed amid the weak housing market and the increased availability of information online.
Overall, the segment lost $1.8 million in the quarter. Excluding severance and post-retirement benefits costs, the segment’s loss was $1.3 million, versus a loss of $0.8 million in fiscal 2011. Gross profit in the segment was $3.1 million or 32.7 percent of sales, versus $3.8 million or 35.6 percent of sales in last year’s first quarter, reflecting the impact of lower sales.
“With the Borders liquidation unfolding across the country during the fall, our publishing segment’s weak results were not surprising, particularly in comparison with last year’s first quarter,” said Conway. “In addition to lost sales to Borders itself, we felt the effects of slower sales at other booksellers as consumers snapped up bargains at Borders’ store closing sales.