Total revenues for the first quarter ended January 31, 1999, rose 21.1% to $387.6 million at Harcourt Brace, while its operating loss was trimmed to $23.6 million from $27.6 million. The sales gain was led by a 51% increase at the company's worldwide STM group, in which revenues hit $159.7 million due largely to the 1998 acquisition of Mosby Inc. Operating earnings in the group rose 53% to $16.6 million.

Harcourt's education group saw a 5.3% decline in sales to $88.1 million, and its operating loss grew to $38.3 million from $30.8 million a year earlier. The company blamed the decline on lower than expected sales from the group's Steck-Vaughn supplementary publisher, although Harcourt chairman Richard Smith said he expects both Steck-Vaughn and the education group to perform well for the full year. At Harcourt's lifelong learning &assessment group, sales rose 14.6% to $139.8 million, and the operating loss was reduced to $1.9 million from $7.6 million.