Bookseller Rahva Raamat 2020 profits up over 50 percent on year

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Tallinn's Old Town Rahva Raamat interior. Source: Rahva Raamat

Bookseller Rahva Raamat has reported a net profit increase of 53.2 percent on year to 2020, at €480,100. The company says it has seen a revenue rise of 4.2 percent, to €19.5 million, during the same time-frame, despite the arrival of the pandemic, which saw access to many of its stores – largely situated inside shopping malls – restricted during a sizeable chunk of the year.

e-book downloads was a major driving force, and revenue stood at 40 percent higher on year in 2020, though growth is set to continue for 2021 as well, Rahva Raamat says.

Physical book sales also rose by 5 percent on year to 2020, though the number of Estonian-language first editions published fell by 8 percent over the same period, BNS reports.

From late March to mid-May 2020, all malls in Estonia were closed, meaning many Rahva Raamat outlets were inaccessible, though the chain's Old Town and Telliskivi branches were not caught up in this and remained open.

Sales of Rahva Raamat-supplied books in supermarkets could also continue unhindered.

Nonetheless, e-commerce was the company's mainstay for 2020, requiring the major re-pointing of the company's warehouse and logistics component.

Conversely, Rahva Raamat's outlets linked to eateries suffered the most, since these were affected by the restrictions over a far longer period, into the first half of 2021.

As of year-end 2020, Rahva Raamat had 12 outlets in eight towns, plus points of sale in a restaurant and two cafes, as well as its own publishing house, and the e-store.

Supplies most supermarket chains

Rahva Raamat supplies books to most of the major supermarkets in Estonia, namely Selver, Prisma, Rimi, Maxima and Coop Eesti, as well as to other bookstores and to libraries.

One of its main competitors is Apollo Raamatud, belonging to the entertainment group of the same name.

The company employed the equivalent of just under 200 full-time employees in 2020, while wage costs rose by 7.6 percent on year to €2.3 million.

The expansion of the company's store-cum-restaurant in the Telliskivi Creative City was one of the major developments last year, while for this year, renovating existing stores and launching a new e-store, plus an e-store for discounted books, are its main goals for this year, the company says.

BNS reports the primary owners of Rahva Raamat as Gertti Kogerman and Viljar Ots (20.8 percent stakes each), Andro Raud and Sander Kopli (16.3 percent each) and Ülar Maapalu (10.4 percent stake).

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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