Comparable sales up 62.5% on an owned basis and up 63.9% on an owned plus licensed basis versus 2020. Comparable sales down 10.5% on an owned basis and down 10.0% on an owned plus licensed basis versus 2019. Trend improvement compared to a 17.1% owned plus licensed comparable sales decline in the fourth quarter of 2020. Digital sales grew 34% over first quarter 2020 and grew 32% over first quarter 2019. Digital penetration was 37% of net sales, a 6-percentage point decline from first quarter 2020 when stores closed, but a 13-percentage point improvement over first quarter 2019. Gross margin for the quarter was 38.6%, up from 17.1% in first quarter 2020 and up 40 basis points from first quarter 2019. Improvement due to increased merchandise margin was largely driven by inventory productivity and the execution of the Polaris strategy.
Pearson (LSE: PSON) and TC Media, part of Transcontinental Inc. (TSX: TCL.A TCL.B), announce the sale of ERPI (‘Éditions du renouveau pédagogique inc.’) by Pearson to TC Media. ERPI is a Québec educational publisher founded in Montréal in 1965 and acquired by Pearson in 1989.
“We are proud to acquire ERPI, a long-standing educational publisher”, said Patrick Lutzy, President of TC Media. “This acquisition fits perfectly with our growth strategy as it complements TC Media’s educational products offering, both print and digital, and provides an opportunity to further grow ERPI’s brand alongside our brands such as Chenelière Éducation, Beauchemin and Modulo. I wish a very warm welcome to ERPI’s team.”