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The Associated Press April 1, 2010, 10:09AM ET

Scholastic's 3Q loss narrows; raises guidance

Book publisher Scholastic Corp. reported a narrower fiscal third-quarter loss on Thursday and raised the lower end of its full-year guidance range on the stronger results.

The loss for the three months ended Feb. 28 totaled $5.6 million, or 15 cents per share, compared with a loss of $36 million, or 98 cents per share a year ago. Excluding one-time items in both periods, loss for the quarter was 4 cents per share, from a loss of 10 cents per share a year earlier.

Revenue fell 6 percent to $398.8 million from $423.6 million in last year's third quarter.

Scholastic said that was mainly due to a $22.2 million decline in trade sales relative to a year ago, when the company published J.K. Rowling's "The Tales of Beedle the Bard," a book related to its successful Harry Potter series.

Scholastic also said the third quarter is its second-smallest for revenue and usually generates a loss.

Operating costs fell 10 percent to $399.6 million, helped by lower cost of goods sold and lower selling, general and administrative expenses.

The company raised the lower end of its 2010 guidance to $2 to $2.30 per share, from prior guidance of $1.80 to $2.30 per share. The outlook excludes one-time items associated with cost cuts and other non-operating items.

Shares rose 14 cents to $28.14 in morning trading.

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