Royal Mail’s revenues from marketing mail grew by 3% in the first half of the year, boosted by an increase in DM spend and in its own data activities. The group posted sales down 1.8% to £4.39bn in the six months to 27 September, while a big jump in restructuring costs resulted in operating profits that were down 17.6% to £248m. Pre-tax profits fell 30% to £116m. The bill for ‘transformation costs’ doubled year-on-year to £94m, in part because of higher voluntary redundancy costs. Almost 3,000 workers left its UK Parcels, International and Letters (UKPIL) business, most taking voluntary redundancy. Royal Mail said it had reduced costs by some £200m in the last three years, and had more than 70 projects underway “targeted to avoid around £500m of annualised costs by 2017-18”.
in EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) in the quarter ended December 31, 2018, over the comparable period a year ago. Profit in the most recent quarter (the second period of fiscal 2019) was $88 million, up from $78 million a year ago. Revenue in the quarter increased 6% over 2018, to $496 million.
In a statement, Robert Thomson, CEO of HC parent company News Corp, said the publisher’s gains were due in part to “the burgeoning of [sales] of digital audio.” Sales of digital audio jumped 58% over last year’s second quarter, and News Corp reported that digital sales rose 12% in the period, as softness in e-book sales was offset by the gains in audio. Digital sales represented 17% of consumer revenue in the quarter, up from 16% a year ago.
Looking at its segments and titles, News Corp reported that sales were up in the general books group as well as in its Christian publishing division. Among the company’s top sellers were Homebody by Joanna Gaines and The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, as well as the continued success of Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis.
For the first six months of fiscal 2019, HC’s EBITDA was up 24% over the first half of fiscal 2018, to $156 million. Sales rose 5%, to $914 million.
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