“I’m exceedingly proud of our FedEx team members, who are moving the world forward through the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines — the most important work in the history of FedEx,” said Frederick W. Smith, FedEx Corp. chairman and chief executive officer. “As reflected in this quarter’s results, continued execution of our strategies is producing strong earnings growth and margin improvement across our company. We expect demand for our unmatched e-commerce and international express solutions to remain very high for the foreseeable future.” Operating results increased primarily due to strong volume growth in U.S. domestic residential package and FedEx International Priority services and pricing initiatives across all transportation segments. These factors were partially offset by costs to support strong demand and expand services, variable compensation expense, higher labor rates, and one fewer operating weekday.
By any measure, the first half of 2021 was a good period for trade book publishing. Revenue at the companies that report trade sales to the Association of American Publishers’ StatShot program rose 17.6% over the first six months of 2020; NPD BookScan reported that unit sales increased 18.5% in the period; and bookstore sales jumped 30% over what was a miserable first six months of 2020. So it comes as no surprise that the four publicly traded major publishers also posted strong increases in the period.
Of particular note is the fact that while sales were strong, profits were even better, with operating margins showing healthy gains. In general, the publishers cited higher sales of both backlist books and digital content, especially digital audiobooks, for the improved margins. Though supply chain issues and the uncertainty over the delta variant are causing some concerns about how the rest of the year will unfold, publishers are hoping that the increased interest in reading will carry over through the 2021 holiday season and beyond.
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