After incurring a $7.17 million net loss in 2001, Augsburg Fortress lost less than expected — $615,298 — in the first three months of 2002. That figure was $1.69 million less than the loss during the first quarter of 2001, George Poehlman, vice president for finance, told the publisher's trustees at their April 25-27 meeting in Rosemont, Ill.
"Our performance since August 2001, and especially in the first quarter of this year, is a strong indication that we have stabilized the financial situation," said Marvin L. Roloff, Augsburg Fortress CEO. "We know we must solve the problem of declining sales, but our goal for 2002 is to stabilize our financial condition. That we are doing."
Poehlman said expenses for 2002 have been cut and this year's sales forecast was reduced by more than $3 million. Those lowered expectations reflect drops of $363,000 in education sales and $235,000 in worship sales in the first quarter of 2002 from a similar period in 2001.
"We have to grow sales or have a smaller, more focused publisher," Poehlman said.
The publisher projects a net loss of nearly $244,000 for 2002, about half of what was expected.
In other news:
• Staff of both Augsburg Fortress and the Division for Congregational Ministries said they'd made progress toward improving publishing relationships. Last year the division's board voted to "investigate alternative means" of publishing resources for congregations and to review relationships with Augsburg Fortress.
• The trustees hope to elect Roloff's successor this year. Roloff's term ends in 2004.
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