December 12 2013 Latest news:
Ben Woods, Business writer
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Norwich-based book wholesaler Bertrams has been boosted by a surge in overseas sales and a strong performance from its e-commerce site Wordery.
A decision to sell directly to consumers online paid off after Wordery made £15m in its first full year of trading.
And international sales were also up 30.2pc year on year, accounting for 26pc of the firm’s overall revenues.
It comes after the firm pocketed £27m in the last 18 months after acquiring books suppliers Houtschild and Erasmus, as well as contracts from Blackwells.
The deals helped the firm mount a 7.8pc increase in revenues to £187.9m, and a 6.1pc growth in underlying operating profits to £7.2m.
The firm said it would now look to invest a further £5m in its digital platforms to take advantage of opportunities in the European e-book market.
Elsewhere, parent-company Smiths News pledged to continue its shift away from hard-hit print and magazine markets as it hiked profits despite further falls in circulation.
Mark Cashmore, chief executive of Smiths News, said: “Looking ahead, we remain focused on achieving 50pc of profits outside of newspapers and magazines by 2016 and believe our ability to generate significant free cash will support a progressive dividend policy.”
The group, which supplies around 30,000 UK retailers and newsagents, reported a 9.2pc plunge in like-for-like wholesale magazine sales in the year to August 31, blaming “wider economic pressures” for an ongoing drop in demand, as well as heavy price cuts in TV listings.
The group said it was on track to see half of all profits come from outside of newspaper and magazine wholesaling by 2016, up from 29pc in the past financial year, as it diversifies towards digital media, as well as supplying resources to the education and care home market through recent acquisition The Consortium.
Its efforts to expand away from traditional print wholesaling, as well as cost cutting, paid off as annual underlying group pre-tax profits rose 11.6pc to £53m.
Shares rose more than 7pc as investors cheered the profit hike.