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Pearson returns to revenue growth amid digital transformation

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Via Yahoo Finance

Pearson returned to growth in the first quarter as it accelerated its transformation into a digital publisher.

Revenues jumped 2%, up from 1% decline for the same period last year, as it was buoyed by strong sales in the UK.

The performance has put it on track to stabilise its top line after five years of declines, it said in a trading update.

The group held firm on its forecasts for the full year, with adjusted operating profit expected to be between £590 million and £640 million.

Pearson reported 4% revenue growth from its core UK, Italian and Australian markets, while it saw a slight decline in US higher education sales.

The company said it is continuing to accelerate its digital transformation, including launching new educational products such as an artificial intelligence (AI) powered maths tutor mobile app and an AI powered essay marker.

Over the past five years, Pearson has been forced to cut jobs and sell assets including the Financial Times newspaper and The Economist magazine to focus on the education sector.

Pearson chief executive John Fallen said: “We are off to a strong start to the year, having laid good foundations in 2018.

“We continue to make progress against our strategic priorities, and we are bringing exciting new products and capabilities to market in 2019 which will continue to accelerate our move to digital.”

George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “While textbook sales are still in decline, solid growth from its new online resources means underlying growth in Pearson’s most important market is back in positive territory.”

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Pearson also announced the appointment of Unilever CFO Graeme Pitkethly and entrepreneur Sherry Coutu as non-executive directors.

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