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Scholastic Posts Narrower Loss

Revenue jumps 54% thanks to the "Harry Potter" franchise.
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(SCHL) - Get Scholastic Corporation Report

reported a narrower-than-expected first-quarter loss Thursday, helped in its seasonally weakest quarter by strong sales of the latest "Harry Potter" book.

Scholastic lost $21.2 million, or 52 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with a loss of $50.5 million, or $1.28 a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 54% from a year ago to $498.4 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were forecasting a loss of 68 cents a share on revenue of $505.3 million.

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Revenue in the company's children's publishing division more than doubled in the quarter to $275.3 million, with the "Harry Potter" franchise producing $185 million of that, up from $10 million a year ago. In educational publishing, revenue rose 9% to $128.3 million, reflecting brisk sales of education technology.

For the fiscal year ending in May 2006, the company expects to earn $2.30 to $2.50 a share on revenue of $2.3 billion to $2.4 billion. Analysts are forecasting earnings of $2.48 a share on sales of $2.35 billion.

The stock closed at $35.88 Wednesday.