Egmont UK is celebrating today after revealing record sales of £48.9 million for 2008, an increase of nine per cent over the previous year.
The figures reflect a strong performance in the UK, where Egmont increased its share of the children's book market from 7.7 per cent in 2007 to 8.5 per cent in retail value terms (source: Nielsen Bookscan TCM) and from 19.3 per cent in 2007 to 20.8 per cent RSV of the children's magazine market (source: Smiths News Data/Seymour).
Pre-tax profits were within expectations at £2.0 million (2007: £2.8m), reflecting the pressure on margins and the investment in Egmont USA, which launches its first list this year.
Growth was driven particularly by annuals and character publishing with the likes of Mr Men and High School Musical, as well as in fiction and new magazine launches such as Disney's Cars and Numberjacks.
"These strong sales mark Egmont's best year ever within a tough trading environment in 2008," said Rob McMenemy, senior VP and MD of Egmont UK. "I am very pleased that we have continued to deliver strong results in a highly competitive field.
"This is the result of our excellent publishing programme, successful new authors, titles and licences, and is testament to the talent on our list and of the Egmont team.
"Looking ahead in 2009 it's a case of that was then, this is now. We have our strongest ever publishing programme this year, and early indications from the first quarter are good. It's been a positive start for us but, in extraordinary economic times such as these, every business has to be prudent, plan ahead and keep a close eye on costs."