The stock price is down more than 13% this morning following the release of disappointing financials for the quarter that ended in February — including sales of The Hunger Games trilogy that CEO Richard Robinson says were “significantly lower than our expectations.” Scholastic ended the period with a $20.1M loss, vs a $10.3M loss in the period last year, on revenues of $380.5M, -18.5%. The revenue figure was short of analysts’ expectation for $384.2M. The drop from last year was largely due to “lower sales of the Hunger Games trilogy vs last year, when we benefited from an extraordinarily strong book revenues in advance of the film release in March,” Robinson told analysts this morning. The publisher also says that it was hurt by local school systems that shifted spending from books to professional development and training materials and digital products including iPads. As a result of the setbacks, Scholastic lowered its forecast for the fiscal year that ends in May.
The education-focused publishing company seemed subdued today, less than a week after the tragic school shootings in Connecticut. In a conference call with analysts to discuss earnings, Scholastic CEO Richard Robinson expressed sympathy for families of the murdered students and teachers. He also urged schools to continue to promote “optimism and hope,” while officials provide the “mental health resources our schools must have.” As for the financials: Cost savings helped, but weren’t enough to overcome declining sales of The Hunger Games trilogy and other disappointments. Shares are down 2.8% in early trading after Scholastic reported net income of $61.8M for the three months that ended in November, -25.4% vs the period last year, on revenues of $616.2M, -10.1%. Analysts expected revenues of about $632.5M. Earnings, at $1.89 a share, also fell short of the $2.05 that the Street anticipated.