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Bloomsbury Publishing, whose most famous property is the Harry Potter series, has announced an impressive series of results for the year ending 28 February 2021.

Revenues increased by 14% to £185.1 million (2019/20: £162.8 million), profit before taxation grew by 22% to £19.2 million, up from £15.7 million in 2019/20m, and profit before taxation grew by 31% to £17.3 million (2019/20: £13.2 million).

Its consumer division saw revenue growth of 22% to £118.3m.  This included a very strong adult trade performance with revenue up 17% to £43.7m, and an excellent performance in children’s too which saw revenue growth of 26% to £74.6m. The company has continued its practice of buying up smaller companies and imprints, the latest being Red Globe Press, the academic imprint of Macmillan Education.

Commenting on the results, Bloomsbury chief executive Nigel Newton said: “The popularity of reading has been a ray of sunshine in an otherwise very dark year.  During lockdown people rediscovered the joy of reading.  The year ended 28 February 2021 saw an outstanding performance by Bloomsbury.

The strength of demand for our titles, in print, e-book and audio, and the surge in sales of our digital products, demonstrate the strength of our long-term growth strategy.” He added: “Our Bloomsbury Digital Resources [BDR] strategy positioned us well to deliver further growth from the accelerated shift to digital learning, with a 73% increase in the number of Academic customers during the year. BDR delivered 49% revenue growth year-on-year and generated profit of £2.9 million.”

But with sadness Newton also noted that the pandemic had claimed the lives of two members of staff in India.  He said: “We also share the sad news of the loss of two colleagues in India from coronavirus. Yogesh Sharma, Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing, who passed away in May, was a founding member of Bloomsbury India and his contribution to the growth of the company was vital. Aravind Murthy, Bloomsbury’s India’s Regional Sales Manager-South, passed away in April. Aravind was an amazing sales manager, very dependable, hardworking, focused, and passionate about his work. We will miss them deeply and send our sympathy and support to the families of Aravind and Yogesh and to our colleagues in India.”

In conclusion, Newton said: “The start of our 2021/22 has seen a continuation of strong trading. Whilst the Board remains mindful of the external environment, the outstanding performance in 2020/21 increases our confidence in the strength of the business and long-term strategy. “At this early stage of the new financial year, and considering the ongoing momentum and strength of our business, Bloomsbury expects revenue to be ahead and profit to be comfortably ahead of market expectations for the year ended 28 February 2022.”