Publisher Bloomsbury has said sales are set to jump beyond expectations for the year after “phenomenal demand” for fantasy fiction and strong sales of cookbooks.
Shares rose after the Harry Potter publisher said pre-tax profits for the year to February 2024 are on track to be “materially ahead” of market expectations.
Industry analysts had previously forecast it would post pre-tax profits of £32.9 million for the year.
Bloomsbury linked the upgrade in performance to “exceptionally strong trading” for a number of consumer titles, including fantasy titles from Sarah J Maas.
It also highlighted bestsellers including Poppy Cooks: The Actually Delicious Air Fryer Cookbook by Poppy O’Toole, Pub Kitchen by Tom Kerridge, The House Of Doors by Tan Twan Eng in the US, and the Harry Potter Wizarding Almanac.
Nigel Newton, chief executive of Bloomsbury, said: “I am delighted to report a strong period of trading which is principally driven by the continued phenomenal demand for fantasy fiction.
“Bloomsbury has consistently built its success on the immense talent of our authors and the exceptional hard work of our teams who support them.”
Investec analyst Alastair Reid said: “It is becoming a familiar story for regular readers, but the ability of Bloomsbury to deliver revenue and profit growth ahead of expectations has once again been seen in another gripping chapter.”
AJ Bell’s Russ Mould said the company is a rare example of “a pandemic winner which has kept on winning” despite many trends reverting back to normal.
He added: “The shares have more than doubled from their Covid sell-off lows as lockdown drove a reading revival.
“Bloomsbury is no longer a one-trick pony, with Harry Potter part of a wider portfolio of titles which is particularly strong in the fantasy genre.”
Shares in the business were up 4.3% to 440p on Thursday morning.