Departing Pearson boss heads for the exit on the back of more weak sales

Departing Pearson boss heads for the exit on the back of more weak sales as the pandemic adds to struggling education publisher’s difficulties

  • International sales were affected by immigration centres closing in Australia 
  • John Fallon has issued a set profit warnings, cut jobs and sold assets while CEO
  • Demand for traditional products such as university course textbooks have fallen 

Education publisher Pearson has revealed its sales have dived this year despite a surge in virtual learning in what is its last trading update with John Fallon as chief executive.

Its orders fell 14 per cent over the first nine months of 2020 compared to the same period last year as the coronavirus pandemic caused massive damage to its testing and North American courseware businesses.

Closed schools and test centres have

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Pearson sales fall despite rise in online courses

Penguin books
Penguin books on a shelf. Last year Pearson struck a £530m deal to sell its stake in Penguin Random House. Photo: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

Sales at education giant Pearson (PSON.L) fell 10% in the three months to September as a slump in its textbook and testing business eclipsed a rise in online learning.

It was the third consecutive quarter of decline, but an improvement on the second quarter’s 28% fall.

The FTSE 100 publisher, which is transitioning from traditional textbooks to digital, has suffered from tumbling sales this year as schools and testing centres shut in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, digital revenue did manage to soften the pandemic blow as its online education business posted a 32% increase.

Enrolment in virtual schools jumped 41% in the first nine months of the year but overall sales were 14% lower in the period compared with 2019.

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Pearson sales drop on weakness in textbook and testing businesses

Publishing group Pearson has said its sales in the third quarter fell after a boom in online learning courses failed to offset steep falls in its textbook and testing businesses.

The FTSE 100 company said its underlying sales fell 10 per cent in the three months to September, following falls in the previous two quarters.

Pearson’s online education business was boosted by the pandemic, with sales jumping 32 per cent in the third quarter. Enrolment in virtual schools increased 41 per cent in the first nine months of 2020.

The company’s other main business groups faltered. Sales at the unit that markets textbooks in the US and Canada fell 15 per cent in the third quarter. Its international unit, which performs an English assessment on behalf of the UK home office as well as other exams, endured a 26 per cent tumble.

John Fallon, Pearson’s chief executive who is set

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Pressure grows on Pearson over pay row, while sales steady

PEARSON reported some improvement in sales today, but a row over executive pay and an impending management shake-up continue to dog the company.

The education publisher saw overall sales tumble 14% in the nine months to September, but global online sales also grew 14%.

Sales in the third quarter fell 10%, an improvement on the 28% fall in the second quarter.

John Fallow, the chief executive to be replaced by Andy Bird next week, said: “Our digital performance is very strong, as we support customers and learners around the world as they shift to fully online and hybrid learning. This has been a challenging transformation for all of us but we are starting to see the benefit of all our work to ensure Pearson becomes the winner in digital learning.”


A third of shareholders have voted against the pay deal offered to Bird, a former Disney executive. He could qualify

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Nursing Education Market Size 2020: Growth Analysis by Top Manufacturers Sales, Consumption Volume, Cost Structures Forecast 2025

The MarketWatch News Department was not involved in the creation of this content.

Sep 18, 2020 (The Expresswire) —
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