Courier Records Modest Declines in Q4, Net Loss for Fiscal Year
“We know customers appreciate our determination to help them succeed across every part of the cycle. So while pushing hard against the economic headwinds, we also continued our investment in advanced digital printing technology that will create new opportunities for ourselves and our customers when it becomes available next year. At the same time, we grew our business in specialty trade by attracting new customers who were delighted to find a cost-effective, environmentally responsible domestic source for state-of-the-art four-color production. By continuing to execute with the efficiency and service levels our customers need, we’ll be well positioned to compete in a variety of economic scenarios.”
Specialty publishing: cutting the cost of connecting with consumers
Courier’s specialty publishing segment includes three businesses: Dover Publications, a niche publisher with thousands of titles in dozens of specialty trade markets; Research & Education Association (REA), a publisher of test preparation books and study guides; and Creative Homeowner, which publishes books on home design, decorating, landscaping and gardening.
Fourth-quarter revenues for the segment were $11.9 million, down 28% from $16.4 million in last year’s fourth quarter. Creative Homeowner sales were down 57%, reflecting its cessation of book distribution activities earlier in the year; however, its operating loss was also down sharply, to $526,000 from $1.1 million in last year’s fourth quarter. Sales at Dover and REA were also down, though by smaller percentages. Overall, the segment posted fourth-quarter operating income of $928,000, versus $1.3 million last year.
For the year as a whole, specialty publishing sales were $46.8 million, down 24% from $61.8 million in fiscal 2008. The segment’s full-year operating loss was $2.2 million, versus a loss of $106,000 last year, with modest profitability at Dover and REA offset by a loss of $3.0 million at Creative Homeowner.
“Faced with widespread caution among consumers and retailers, our publishing businesses focused on value-priced titles and emerging market niches,” said Mr. Conway. “While sales were down overall, all three brands had notable successes, from Dover’s new Sesame Street Activity Books to Creative Homeowner’s award-winning 3-Step Vegetable Gardening and REA’s exciting relaunch of its highly regarded Advanced Placement Test Prep series. With our recently integrated administrative infrastructure throughout the segment, we continue to improve at getting products into development and out to market quickly and effectively. Once consumers return to the stores, they’ll also find we have more than ever to offer.”