Pearson 2021 Q1 Trading Update (Unaudited)

Andy Bird, Chief Executive said: “It’s been a good start to the year for Pearson, delivering 5% sales growth in the quarter. This is despite a longer period of disruption from COVID-19 in the quarter compared to last year. I’d like to thank colleagues for their ongoing dedication and hard work.

“We are building pace and momentum. We are making good strategic progress in our ongoing shift to digital, we are in the advanced stages of preparation for the forthcoming launch of our new college app and our organisational redesign is on track.

“We continue to expect to deliver revenue and profit growth in 2021 and for our performance to be in line with our 2021 outlook as we benefit from improving trading conditions as COVID-19 restrictions ease. We are focused on executing our new strategy and believe that it will create sustainable and significant value for all of Pearson’s stakeholders.”

· Encouraging start to the year despite challenging market conditions, with underlying revenue growth of 5% reflecting good progress as we reposition Pearson for sustainable growth with a strong direct to consumer focus.
· Global Online Learning up 25%, with strong growth in Virtual Schools due to enrolment growth in the current school year in Partner Schools as well as in US district partnerships; modest growth in OPM due to ongoing impact of discontinued programs.
· Global Assessment down 2%, as strong recovery in Professional Certification and US Clinical Assessment was more than offset by US School Assessment, where revenue was down significantly due to the challenging comparative and reuse of material from cancelled exams.
· North American Courseware up 1% as Canada benefited from the continued sales shift to digital and a school funding increase which more than offset a 1% decline in US Higher Education Courseware. We continued to see good momentum in the US business with growth in total units sold into colleges, growth in digital sales and registrations, and returns continuing to trend lower. Growth in eBooks more than offset declines in print and bundle units, showing signs of secondary market recapture.
· International down 2% with a decline in English as COVID-19 continued to impact our courseware and franchise business in Latin America, notwithstanding slight improvement in Pearson Test of English volume and courseware recovery in China. BTEC revenue was lower due to FE College closures and lower resit fees due to 2020 exam cancellations. This was partially negated by strong courseware sales in Europe and South Africa.
· We continue to expect our performance to be in line with our 2021 outlook, as outlined on 8 March 2021 at our full year results.
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