Net sales for the quarter increased 12.5 percent, to $52.28 billion from $46.45 billion last year. Net sales for the fiscal year increased 9.3 percent, to $163.22 billion from $149.35 billion last year. Net income for the fourth quarter was $1.389 billion, or $3.13 per diluted share, compared to $1.097 billion, or $2.47 per diluted share last year. This year’s fourth quarter was negatively impacted by incremental expense related to COVID-19 premium wages and sanitation costs of $281 million pretax ($0.47 per diluted share) and a $36 million pretax charge ($0.06 per diluted share) related to the prepayment of $1.5 billion of debt. These items were partially offset by an $84 million pretax benefit ($0.15 per diluted share) for the partial reversal of a reserve of $123 million pretax ($0.22 cents per diluted share), related to a product tax assessment taken in the fourth quarter of last year. Net income for the fiscal year was $4.00 billion, or $9.02 per diluted share, compared to $3.66 billion, or $8.26 per diluted share in the prior year.
Unit sales of print books rose 8.8% in the week ended May 15, 2021, over the comparable week in 2020 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Adult fiction continued to see solid gains, with units up 19.2% over the week ended May 16, 2020. Within the adult segment, graphic novels continued to lead the way, with units up 188%. New releases also contributed, led by While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams, which sold about 23,000 copies in its first week. Diana Palmer’s Texas Dare followed, selling almost 22,000 copies, and Jennifer Weiner’s That Summer sold approximately 16,000 copies in its first week. Unit sales of adult nonfiction increased 3.6% compared to 2020. As in recent weeks, subcategories that were hurt by the pandemic are seeing a rebound, led by travel (up almost 100%); business and economics (up 31.6%); and history, law, political science (up 24.8%).
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