Shapero Rare Books' Parent Finishes Year with a Loss

- by Michael Stillman


Image from the Scholium website.

This has been a tough year for just about anyone in the book business, but most don't have to announce their results. That is not true for Shapero Rare Books parent, Scholium Group, as it is a publicly traded company. As a result, they recently released an update on results for their last fiscal year, which ended on March 31, 2021.


The firm noted that it had suffered a loss in the last six months of their year, as had been the case in the first six months. They explained, “The Group's trading was severely disrupted due to the Covid-19 restrictions, in particular the closure of the Group's Mayfair retail premises for significant parts of the year, and the complete cancellation of all of the domestic and international trade fairs normally attended by the Group. As a consequence, the Group's trading has resulted in a loss for the six months to 31 March 2021.” They noted that the loss was “marginally lower” than for the previous six months, “which is a pleasing improvement.” The loss for the prior six months was £158,000 (US $212,000), which implies a loss for the year probably around £300,000 (US $400,000). Additionally, they suffered an “exceptional” loss of around £125,000 incurred in moving their location, which “will result in considerable annual cost savings for the Group in future years.”


Despite the losses, they reported that the firm is still well-capitalized, with £8.5 million worth of stock, £2,000 in cash, and while using a £250,000 Covid bank loan, had not drawn down on their £500,000 overdraft facility.


While the situation is gradually improving with regards to Covid, the company cautioned that things would not return to normal immediately. They noted that while sales continue on the internet, by mail, and on the the phone, and their location reopened on April 12, “...footfall to date remains much lower than normal. The Directors do not anticipate a return to customary levels of trading until it is possible for visitors to travel to London in safety. Accordingly, the Group is not expected to trade profitably in the first half of the year to 30 September 2021.”


Scholium said it expects to release a preliminary statement of their results for the year ending March 31, 2021, by the end of August.