We just announced today that the quarter ending September 30 was the largest in our 209-year history. Net revenues were up 10% for the quarter and 10% for the first six months of its fiscal year. (Our fiscal year runs from April 1 to March 31.) EBITDA was up 10% for the quarter and 18% fiscal year-to-date.
Our publishing segment has been especially sucessful this year. It was up 12% for the six months ending September 30. I believe this is the direct result of our One Company initiative. This initiative has afforded us the focus we needed to create products that are relevant to consumers.
For the first six months of this fiscal year, the categories that experienced double-digit growth included Gift Books with a 53% increase, Curriculum with a 39% increase, Business & Culture with a 15% increase, and Bible & Reference with an 11% increase over last year.
Best yet, our growth is spread over multiple sales channels, with our four largest channels growing the most dynamically. The ministry sales division, responsible for selling our products directly to individuals and churches, increased sales 35% over last year. And, in spite of a challenging retail environment, all of the Company’s retail sales channels have experienced double-digit growth. The mass-market channel that includes Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Costco increased sales by 30%, the general book retail channel by 16%, and the Christian retail channel by 15%.
We have also had good success on the bestsellers list. So far this fiscal year, we have had ten books on the New York Times bestseller. Denise Jackson’s candid memoir, It’s All About Him, John and Stasi Eldredge’s revealing book for women Captivating, and Max Lucado’s encouraging message of hope 3:16, currently reside on the list in their respective categories. Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller’s remarkable memoir about his journey back to God spent more than 45 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
I anticipate that our momentum will carry into the second half of the year. With new releases from John Maxwell, John Eldredge, Chuck Swindoll and Ted Dekker in the second half of our fiscal year, I expect our double-digit growth to continue.
Please note: I incorrectly reported the growth of Study Bibles in my original post and in the press release. Because of the One Company reorganization, we can’t actually measure Study Bibles as a separate category. (We are measuring it now, but we didn’t last year, so there’s no basis for comparison. My apologies for any confusion.)