Smith News expects flat profits as competition hits book sales

SMITH News yesterday announced its pre-tax profits for the first half are likely to be flat compared to last year.

In a pre-close statement for the period to 28 February, the company said its newspaper and magazine revenue had performed slightly above recent run rates, and the division’s profit is likely to top last year’s.

But profit for its Bertrams books business is likely to be lower than last year because of “lower margin categories, price competitiveness and delays in realising the benefits from investments to drive long term growth,” the firm said.

The statement said both Smith News’ educational supplies arm The Consortium and its media division were performing in line with expectations.

“As a result underlying group profit before tax for the first half is expected to be in line with the prior year,” it stated.

“There has been no change in the underlying financial condition of the group since the year ended 31 August 2013 and the group continues to operate well within its new bank facilities.”

Smith News will announce its interim results for the period on 23 April.