Scholastic Widens 1Q Loss But Reaffirms Full-Year Forecast

Children’s publisher Scholastic (NASDAQ:SCHL) widened its first-quarter loss and reported a worse-than-expected decline in sales, however the company reaffirmed its outlook for fiscal 2013.

The New York-based maker of kid’s education products posted a loss of $32.1 million, or $1.02 a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $27.1 million, or 81 cents, slightly better than the loss of $1.05 forecasted by analysts in a Thomson Reuters poll.

Revenue for the three months ended Aug. 31 was $293.6 million, down from $318 million a year ago, widely below the Street’s view of $314 million.

"Results in Scholastic's education divisions declined last quarter, reflecting slower spending by school districts and expected tough comparisons with a year ago, when we benefited from significant, federally funded contracts as well as major product releases,” Scholastic CEO Richard Robinson said in a statement.

He added that many school districts are concerned about the potential for automatic spending cuts and are being modest when purchasing school supplies.

However, growth in the company’s educational services business, which includes helping school districts prepare for new federal standards, has positioned Scholastic to grow product sales, Robinson said.

The company stood by its fiscal 2013 outlook of $2.20 to $2.40 a share, excluding one-time costs, on sales of $1.9 billion to $2 billion. The consensus is calling for earnings of $2.23 a share on revenue of $1.96 billion.