The Omicron variant of Covid-19 and the fear of widespread supply-chain issues in the run-up to the Christmas holiday did not dent profits for Indigo Books & Music, the country’s largest book retailer. The chain reported increased revenue for its third quarter, the 13 weeks ending January 1, 2022.
Revenue for the quarter was at $430.7 million, a 17.9% increase over last year and 12.2% over 2019. The company credits robust online business for the positive showing. According to the latest financial report, Indigo’s online channel has experienced an 86.3% growth over pre-pandemic levels, helping to mitigate any lost in-person sales as a result of the surging Omicron variant, which was first reported in November 2021. Net earnings sat at $45.1 million, up from $30.7 million the previous year.
The strong sales come “despite disruption from the Omicron variant and the reintroduction of severe pandemic restrictions in several key jurisdictions during the three most critical December selling weeks,” according to a press release. The company credits its assortment of inventory as well as customers shopping “with intent” for the positive holiday outcomes. Lifestyle and toy products performed especially well, though a “renewed interest in reading” also resulted in book sales being up across all categories.
CEO Heather Reisman is quoted as saying, “These results demonstrate the success of our efforts to provide a meaningfully curated offering to our customers, the power of our position as the Country’s leading bookseller, and the strength of the Indigo brand.”
The success of the chain is in line with what independent booksellers were reporting about holiday sales. Despite widespread nervousness about lack of supply due to issues affecting printing and distribution, indie booksellers generally reported strong sales for the period and fewer inventory disruptions than anticipated.