Penguin Group, the international publishing company, announced its financial results for 2009 on Monday with sales of £1,002m and operating profit of £84m. This is the first time in the company's history that sales have exceeded the £1bn mark. On a headline basis, sales were up 11% (from £903m in 2008). Headline operating profit was down 10% (from £93m in 2008), although this included a one-off £9m charge relating to organisational changes in Penguin UK and DK. Excluding these charges, headline profit was in line with 2008, a significant achievement considering the economic environment. At constant exchange rates, sales were slightly down by 1% and operating profit down 17%, again primarily due to restructuring costs.
Every territory and division contributed to these results with competitive performances in the face of tough market conditions. Over the past five years, Penguin has demonstrated a record of strong financial performance with sales over the period increasing at an average rate of 6% and profit at 9% in headline terms. These Penguin results were part of an excellent overall Pearson performance in 2009 [http://www.pearson.com/investors/our-news/?i=1232].
Penguin Group Chairman and Chief Executive, John Makinson, said: "Over the past year we have prepared Penguin for an exciting, if uncertain, digital future, while continuing to publish and sell great books in a very difficult consumer market. We have achieved these goals thanks to the skills and commitment of all our companies around the world, qualities that I expect will allow us to make further progress, commercially and creatively, in 2010."
Penguin's publishing strategy delivered around the world with a few notable themes:
Bestseller success across the Group: Penguin enjoyed bestseller success around the world with a record number of New York Times bestsellers (243 with 30 hitting number one) in the US and, in the UK, Penguin had 46 Top Ten bestsellers. Bestsellers came from across a wide range of imprints highlighting the depth and breadth of Penguin's publishing around the world and included titles from debut authors such as The Help by Kathryn Stockett, which was named the USA Today Book of the Year and now has more than 1.7m copies in print, and The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee in the US, and Horse Boy by Rupert Isaacson in the UK, plus well-established author brands such as Charlaine Harris, Nora Roberts, Jamie Oliver, Jeremy Clarkson and Marian Keyes.
Dominance in the non-fiction category: Penguin authors such as Michael Pollan, Malcolm Gladwell and Antony Beevor enjoyed bestseller success while Ant and Dec's Ooh! What a Lovely Pair was the UK's bestselling celebrity memoir of 2009 and the second biggest selling hardback non-fiction title.
Strength of backlist: 2009 was a very strong year for backlist publishing with readers turning to well-trusted brands such as the Penguin Classics and evergreen children's brands such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2009, and Winnie the Pooh - Penguin's Young Readers Group in the US published the first approved sequel Return to the Hundred Acre Wood. Penguin Australia's beautifully packaged Popular Penguins series sold extremely well passing the million copy mark.
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