May 13, 1998
Randall W. White, Chairman and CEO of Educational Development Corporation reports that the Company has achieved record earnings for the fiscal year ended February 28, 1998 on 9% lower sales.
The lower sales level occurred in the Home Business Division, over half of which was in the first quarter. That downturn has been reversed, as retail sales for the last three months, February, March, and April are up from the previous year. Sales in the Publishing Division to retail outlets posted a strong gain of 9.4% for the year, while the industry in that market segment posted a downturn of 18.6%.
The lower sales volume allowed the Company to effectively implement numerous cost saving programs during the year which resulted in the improved profit margin. Due to the improved efficiency and profit margins, the Company implemented May 1, 1998, an enhancement to the compensation program to accelerate growth in the Home Business Division. The new program creates an additional level of compensation and is designed to encourage participation at all levels of the organization. Initial response has been extremely encouraging and indicates a revitalization of the field sales force.
Operating efficiency and capacity has been significantly improved, operating margins have been improved, the downturn in sales in the Home Business Division has been reversed, and a major enhancement to the field sales compensation has been implemented. The Company expects improvement in sales and earnings for fiscal year ending February 28, 1999.
The Board of Directors has approved an increase in the annual dividend to $0.02 per share to shareholders of record August 1, 1998.