Educational publishing firm Pearson has said it will target further digital growth and the skills gap as part of its strategy to recover following the impact of the pandemic.
It came as the FTSE 100 company posted a 12% slump in sales to £3.4 billion in 2020, as textbook sales were affected by the pandemic’s disruption to schools.
Nevertheless, the group was upbeat in its outlook, forecasting year-on-year revenue growth amid easing restrictions across its key markets.
The company also revealed that operating profits jumped to £411 million for the year, from £275 million in 2019, as it benefited from the sale of its stake in Penguin Random House and lower-than-expected restructuring costs.
Pearson’s strategy overhaul will see it grow its direct-to-consumer model, while it also plans to continue to expand its online business which now covers around three-quarters of all sales.
The company has said it will reorganise its operations as a result of the new growth strategy, splitting the business into five new divisions.
In addition to its schools and college services, the group said it plans to tap into high demand for training and qualifications related to skills and businesses.
Andy Bird, Pearson’s chief executive, said: “Despite the significant challenges of 2020, it is thanks to the tenacity and commitment of colleagues around the world that Pearson has delivered a solid financial performance.
“This year, as we recover from the impact of the pandemic, we are focused on delivering revenue and profit growth.
“Following significant investments in technology and comprehensive restructuring, Pearson is moving at pace and ready to enter a new era as a digital-first company, focused on delivering sustainable revenue and profit growth for the benefit of all company stakeholders.”