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Scholastic 1Q loss narrows as some expenses fall

NEW YORK (AP) -- Scholastic's fiscal first-quarter loss narrowed as its operating expenses declined.

The publishing, education and media company lost $29.9 million, or 94 cents per share, for the three months ended Aug. 31. That compares with a loss of $32.1 million, or $1.02 per share, in the prior-year period.

One-time expenses for cost reduction and restructuring programs totaled 4 cents per share. Stripping this out, Scholastic Corp. reported a loss of 90 cents per share.

Scholastic said Thursday that it typically reports a first-quarter loss, as most U.S. schools are not in session and its school book club and book fair businesses produce minimal revenue.

Total operating costs and expenses fell to $322.2 million from $340.4 million, while interest expense dropped to $1.9 million from $3.7 million.

Revenue slipped 6 percent to $276.3 million from $293.4 million as sales of "The Hunger Games" trilogy continued to drop compared with year-ago levels.

But Chairman, President and CEO Richard Robinson said in a statement that the New York company anticipates sales of Hunger Games books rising as consumers anticipate the upcoming release of the "Catching Fire" movie.

Scholastic still foresees fiscal 2014 earnings from continuing operations between $1.40 and $1.80 per share, with revenue of about $1.8 billion.