Scholium Group announced their financial results for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2022, and the numbers are very good. Scholium is the parent of Shapero Rare Books in London and as the one publicly traded company in the rare and collectible book field, they are the only such bookseller compelled to release its audited statements to the public. As such, it serves as something of a bellwether to the trade. If so, it should be encouraging news to booksellers. While Scholium has three divisions, the vast majority of its sales were from Shapero Rare Books.
Scholium reported a profit for the past fiscal year, its first in four years. While the effect of Covid on business was not as dramatic as the previous year, it was still a significant factor, making the performance even more remarkable. The Group showed a pretax profit of £177,000 (US $210,000) compared to a loss of £437,000 (US $517,000) the prior year. Revenue for the latest year was £8,129,000 (US $9,614,000) versus £5,148,000 (US $6,086,000). That represents a 58% increase in sales, impressive by any standard. The profit came despite a loss of £240,000 (US $284,000) related to the shutdown of their Mayfair Philatelic division. In their financial statement, Scholium explained, “The Board determined that the market for stamps was not one that could generate the success and profits in books and art and therefore the decision was taken to close the business.” £7,911 of Scholium's revenue came from Shapero Rare Books with £218,000 coming from Scholium Trading. The company said that the increased sales reflected increases in both physical and online sales.
Board Chairman David Harland stated, “I am delighted to present my first statement as Chair and to report that the Group's revenues for the year ended 31 March 2022 increased by 58% to £8.1 million as a result of the return to some semblance of normality following the adverse impact of Covid in the prior year. This is the first profit in four years. The Board is delighted with the turnaround and remains focused on further enhancing shareholder value, incentivising its executive and staff and continuing to search for further opportunities in related areas to build upon this pleasing result.”
Chief Executive Officer Bernard Shapero, recently appointed Group CEO in addition to Shapero Rare Books CEO, also issued a statement saying, “I am delighted to present my first report as Chief Executive officer of the public Group appointed as I was to the role in March 2022. This has been a significant year in many ways and I am most thankful for the excellent team with whom I work and who have laboured through the many challenges of the recent years resulting in a Group profit.” He continued, “The general state of the market for Books and Art was encouraging as the year progressed in both physical markets as well as on-line and particularly for art which continues to enjoy high levels of retail interest at both the shop and at fairs which are now returning with many taking place for the first time in three years.”
Shapero also spoke with cautious optimism toward the future, as international events and financial conditions have added new challenges beyond those of Covid. He said, “It is encouraging to report that the performance of the business in the first four months of the new financial year has been in line with our expectations, with a profitable start. Clearly there are some global economic headwinds, but with our multi-channel sales routes of retail premises, an extensive online presence and exhibiting at international trade fairs; I feel we are well placed to keep the positive momentum going forward, in the coming year.”
Investors were evidently pleased with the results too as the stock rose over 7% on the day of the announcement on unusually high volume.