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Bloomsbury Publishing profit upgrade on lockdown book surge

Simon Neville, PA City Editor
·2-min read

Bloomsbury Publishing has issued a profit upgrade, saying it expects sales and profits to beat market expectations thanks to a boost in business during the lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions.

With leisure, entertainment and hospitality venues closing for large parts of the company’s financial year, households have been turning to books in record numbers.

The company has also benefited from the widespread increase in remote learning at academic institutions.

Updating the stock market ahead of its full-year results at the end of February, the company said it is set to beat analysts’ predictions of £161.8 million in sales and could be “well ahead” of pre-tax profit expectations of £12.1 million.

Books
Households bought more books in 2020 despite bookshops being closed, as online orders surged (PA)

Bosses said its consumer division continues to perform well, with standout bestsellers including Eat Better Forever by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Outlawed, Joe Biden – American Dreamer and Humankind.

Bloomsbury added it has seen strong sales of older titles including Harry Potter, Sarah J Maas, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, Such A Fun Age and Dishoom.

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The surge in reading amid lockdown and social distancing restrictions has led to the volume of print books sold in the UK during 2020 growing by 5.2% compared with 2019, according to Nielsen.

At its academic and professional division, the company added it “continues to make good progress” on its plans to develop digital resources to benefit from demand from academic institutions during lockdown.

The company added that John Warren is leaving the board later this year as the senior independent non-executive.

He is expected to be replaced in the role by fellow board member Leslie-Ann Reed and comes a month after Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey joined as a new non-executive.

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