Pearson says demand for online learning softens impact of …

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LONDON, Oct 14 (Reuters) – British education group Pearson said it was on course to hit market expectations after demand for online learning helped soften the impact from cancelled tests and closed schools due to COVID-19.

The company, which has appointed former Disney executive Andy Bird as its new CEO from next week, said group sales fell by 14% over 9 months due to school closures, campus shop closures and the cancellation of exams.

The 9-month result marks a slight improvement from the half-year, when group sales were down 17%.

Analysts are expecting the group, which has spent years restructuring to adapt to the move online, to post adjusted operating profit of 332 million pounds ($428.65 million)in 2020. It had forecast profit of up to 490 million pounds in February.

“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,” Chief Executive John Fallon said. ($1 = 0.7745 pounds) (Reporting by Kate Holton, Editing by Paul Sandle and Sarah Young)

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