Brit company loses $40 mil on low demand

LONDON — The Force is most definitely not with Dorling Kindersley.

The educational and CD-ROM publisher plunged to a £25 million ($40 million) loss in the second half of 1999 as a result of massively overestimating demand for “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” books at Christmas.

DK printed 13 million “Star Wars” books, but sold fewer than 3 million. That alone accounted for losses of $29 million.

The company’s chief exec James Middlehurst has quit, with chairman and 30% shareholder Peter Kindersley retaking the helm until a replacement can be found. The company’s share price fell almost 40% on the news.

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