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UK educators Pearson posts fall in Q1 sales

The CEO of the world's largest educational company, Pearson, told CNBC Friday that its first-quarter trading was "very much in line with what we expected," despite sales being down 4 percent from last year.

John Fallon said this was mainly due to expected weakness in U.S. and UK assessment revenues. Revenues declined 9 percent at constant exchange rates, reflecting underlying revenue declines and the impact of a change in revenue model.

Fallon said that Pearson, which is undergoing major restructuring, "is making good progress with simplifying its business... We're already halfway through our major simplification problem."

College student reading textbook near computer
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Pearson announced early this year that it would reduce its global workforce by 10 percent. In a statement, the multinational company said that almost half of the targeted reduction in headcount of 4,000 employees had been notified of exit.

Headline sales decreased 6 percent with the benefit from the strength of the U.S. dollar against sterling partly offset by the weakness of key emerging market currencies, said Pearson.

However, the multinational publishers reiterated their expected 2016 operating profit (before costs of restructuring) of GBP 580 million ($849 million) to GBP 620 million.

"It's early days but we're on track and feeling good about the year," said Fallon to CNBC. "The digital transformation of Pearson is incredibly important... [Pearson] has some great new products coming to the market."