Lagardère announced First Quarter 2021 revenues today. Highlights of the company’s financial performance are as follows:
At Hachette Book Group:
Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch said, “HBG’s first quarter revenues gained solidly on last year’s, led by significant growth in hardcover sales. Strong children’s hardcovers included Meena Harris’s Ambitious Girl, Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped, and Vashti Harrison’s Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History. Adult hardcover fiction bestsellers included James Patterson and James O. Born’s The Russian, Harlan Coben’s Win, and Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child’s The Scorpion’s Tail, and nonfiction leads included Don Lemon’s This Is the Fire, Dana Perino’s Everything Will Be Okay and James Patterson and Matt Eversmann’s Walk in My Combat Boots. HBG’s third-party distribution business had an excellent start to the year, with double-digit growth over Q1 2020.
Looking ahead, we have an extraordinary publishing lineup in the second quarter, with highly anticipated new books from David Baldacci, Malcolm Gladwell, Elin Hilderbrand, T.D. Jakes, Christopher Kimball, Andrew McCarthy, William H. McRaven, Joel Osteen, Yusef Salaam, and Jake Tapper.”
At Hachette Livre:
At Lagardère Publishing revenue was “up sharply by 14% year on year,” according to Lagardère’s press release. “Continued solid revenue performance in first-quarter 2021, driven by successful frontlist and backlist releases in General Literature and Illustrated Books in France, the United Kingdom and the United States. Sales were driven by successful editorial decisions in the various regions as well as by the increased appeal of reading among consumers during extended lockdowns, notably in France and the United Kingdom.”
Hachette Livre delivered revenue of €509 million, up 11.6% as reported, up 13.9% like for like. Scope effects added €6 million (including the acquisition of Laurence King Publishing), while currency effects reduced revenue by €17 million.
The year on year changes below are shown on a like for like basis:
In France: France reported revenue growth of 22.2% with “advances in all segments benefiting from the increased appeal of reading among consumers during lockdown, and from the extended closure of restaurants and cultural venues,” according to the press release. “Growth was driven in particular by a strong performance from General Literature, Larousse and Illustrated Books, led by momentum in Lifestyle and the successful reissues of Lupin and Attack on Titan alongside their television series adaptations. Distribution revenue benefited from this brisk sales momentum over the quarter. However, tourism guide sales retreated.”
In the US: “Business surged 19.2% in the United States, spurred by the release of Stephenie Meyer’s Midnight Sun at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in August and the latest title by Nicholas Sparks, The Return, at Grand Central Publishing in September. Several titles linked to the Black Lives Matter movement published by Perseus and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, also enjoyed success. Digital formats continue to enjoy bullish growth.”
In the UK: Revenue in the United Kingdom “also grew sharply in the quarter by 19.8%, thanks to a good performance in General Literature, led in particular by Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton backlist in the wake of the successful television series aired from December 2020. Business also benefited from still-buoyant digital sales, which posted double-digit growth.”
In Spain/Latin America: Revenue in Spain/Latin America was down 11.7%, “with growth in Trade and Education in Spain offset by the severe adverse impact of the health crisis in Mexico.”
Partworks: Partworks posted growth of 4.8%, led by the success of collections in Japan and in France.
Ebooks: Ebooks accounted for 9.0% of total Lagardère Publishing revenue in the first quarter of 2021, versus 9.7% in first quarter 2020, while downloadable audiobooks represented 4.6% of revenue compared to 5.9% in Q1 2020.
The increased appeal of reading among consumers during the pandemic has boosted sales, “highlighting the pertinence of Lagardère Publishing’s editorial offering.” The division’s sales momentum is expected to return to normal in 2021 as leisure and cultural venues reopen for business. “The absence of any curriculum reform in 2021 will counter the positive impacts of the release of the new Asterix album in the fourth quarter of 2021.”
The Lagardère group reported revenue of €905 million in the first quarter, down 33.5% as reported and down 29.8% like for like versus Q1 2020.
“Revenue for Lagardère Travel Retail totalled €341 million in first-quarter 2021, down 57.6% as reported and down 56.1% like for like. The scope effect was neutral, while the currency effect reduced revenue by €12 million,” according to the release.
Revenue for Other Activities totalled €55 million in first-quarter 2021, down 8.3% as reported and down 10.4% like for like. Other Activities includes: Lagardère News (revenue down 3.5% in Q1 vs 2020), the Radio segment (up 1.5%), the Press segment (down 3.4%), International licensing (down 14.3%), and Lagardère Live Entertainment (down 96.2%).
Read more in Lagardère’s press release.