Chloe Shakesby

Bloomsbury sees "exceptional" performance thanks to lockdown reading boom

A British book publisher has announced that its profit is “significantly ahead” of market expectations.

Bloomsbury Publishing, which operates worldwide, has said that February alone saw a “surge” in reading, boosting its year-end results.

The company reported net cash of £54m as of the end of its financial year (28 February), and said that it is assessing opportunities to invest, including potential acquisitions.

It has also repaid all temporary salary reductions for its staff caused by lockdown, and has repaid £63k of government furlough funding.

Nigel Newton, chief executive of Bloomsbury, commented: “The popularity of reading during lockdown is a ray of sunshine in an otherwise very dark last year.

“February, the final month of our financial year, saw an exceptional sales performance for Bloomsbury as the surge in reading continued.

“We do not yet know how consumer behaviour will change as academic institutions, shops and leisure activities reopen and whether this popularity will continue as restrictions are lifted.

“We are confident, though, in the underlying strength of our business, the quality of our titles and content and our long-term strategy. Our medium and long-term expectations remain unchanged.

“I would like to express my thanks to the staff, authors, illustrators, printers, distributors and suppliers for their profound resilience over the last year.”

More detailed financial results from the company are expected to be released in June this year.

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