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Harry Potter Publisher Posts Profit Slump

Scholastic, the publisher of the Harry Potter books, said today that its profit fell 43 percent during the quarter ended Nov. 30, as consumers purchased fewer books and the company added severance payments and discontinued operations costs to its books.

Scholastic also lowered its earnings forecast for 2009 and predicted more spending cuts and poor market conditions.

Scholastic shares have fallen 61 percent since peaking at $37.57 in February. Shares have fallen dramatically during the last quarter, when net income dropped to $43.1 million, or $1.15 per share, from $75.6 million, or $1.93 per share, in the year-ago period.

Sales dropped in its trade publishing unit due to fewer Harry Potter shipments, but the children's book publishing and distribution division benefited from strong sales of “The 39 Clues,” “The Hunger Games,” “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” and “Too Many Toys.”

--Kim Hart

By Kim Hart  |  December 18, 2008; 2:04 PM ET
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