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2021 challenges

Pierre Leroy   PIERRE LEROY
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hachette Livre
 
 

HOW DID LAGARDÈRE PUBLISHING FARE IN 2020, IN VIEW OF THE CURRENT HEALTH CRISIS?

In 2020, Lagardère Publishing weathered the crisis by protecting the health of its employees and preserving the future, and by delivering a superb performance across the globe. Lagardère Publishing was able to withstand the manifold challenges brought about by the health crisis confidently, thanks to our employees' exceptional hard work, the swift rollout of home working at all levels where possible, continued distribution activities, cost-saving measures and the ability to adapt our publishing schedules at short notice. Businesses were especially hard hit in France and Spain between March and May 2020, as many points of sale were forced to closed. However, Lagardère Publishing quickly resumed operations and ended up having an exceptional year, owing to its diverse international business model and a highly-resilient book market.

 

AGAINST THIS BACKDROP, WHAT IS THE OUTLOOK FOR 2021?

Lagardère Publishing is taking a cautious approach to 2021. Although the appeal of reading among consumers increased in 2020, with higher sales in many countries, it is difficult to predict the impacts on book purchasing as life gradually returns to normal over 2021.

Therefore, 2021 should be seen as a year of transition: there will be no curriculum reform or phenomena like Midnight Sun as in 2020, but we will have a new Asterix album. We also plan to pursue our strategy of diversifying into board games, which are enjoying strong growth and have a business model that is similar to book publishing. And we will also continue to make targeted acquisitions in our core publishing business, as we did in 2020 with the acquisition of Laurence King Publishing in the United Kingdom.

In the context a gradual easing of the intensity of the Covid-19 pandemic, we will be managing our businesses with great care, maintaining a balance between creativity and rigour. With the widespread rollout of home working for over the past year, we will be looking to find the right balance between promoting teamwork and creating a fulfilling environment for our employees that also helps our publishers and authors to develop and expand. And we will continue to foster and promote diversity - a source of innovation, ideas and creativity - so that we can offer readers new perspectives and new stories catering to all their reading desires.

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