Pearson braced for challenges following slip in sales to £1.2bn

 

Financial Times owner Pearson today admitted underlying sales fell 1% to  £1.2 billion in the first quarter, against a 3% rise a year ago, in a sign of the tough task facing new chief executive John Fallon.

“We expect the external environment to remain challenging,” said the education and publishing group, which has already announced a £150 million restructuring and the spin-off of book publisher Penguin.

Operating profits in the first half of this year will be lower than in 2012 because of the shake-up, particularly in the international education arm.

Penguin, which is being merged with rival Random House, has had “a good start” with authors such as chef Jamie Oliver and American novelist Harlan Coben selling well.

But the FT has suffered from “weak” advertising as a number of large brands have focused their campaigns on the second quarter compared with the first quarter last year. Parts of the UK education business were also “soft”.

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