HarperCollins reported operating income of $48 million in the fiscal year ended June 30, 1999, a gain of 30% over last year's $37 million, a result that made president and CEO Jane Friedman "very happy."

Friedman told PW it had been a "stellar year, which positions us well for 1999," adding that she is "very optimistic for book sales in the years ahead. I think the outlook is very positive." She attributed her optimism partly to online sales, in which, she said, Harper enjoys a distinct advantage because two of its specialty niches, business and self-help books, have particularly strong sales on the Web. She also feels such sales enlarge the book audience.

Results had been boosted, Friedman noted, by a particularly strong showing of U.S. bestsellers (the house placed 32 titles on the lists during the year, with four titles reaching number one); she added that two current bestsellers, Body for Life and Real Age, had not even been recorded in the results. Also absent from the results was HC's recent purchase of Morrow and Avon from Hearst, which she expects to further improve sales in the coming year.

Friedman cited two more factors as being of particular importance in the results: "the continuation of our strategic supply chain initiative," in which HC carefully monitors its sales to stores, and the very successful launch of HarperPerennial Classics. She also noted that the U.K. operation had done "brilliantly."

In other results, HC achieved total sales of $764 million in the year, compared with $737 million in the previous year. Last-quarter publishing results were actually down on the same quarter last year, with profits at $6 million compared to $11 million, but that quarter last year had two extraordinary bestsellers in Titanic: James Cameron's Illustrated Screenplay and Wally Lamb's I Know This Much Is True.

Parent News Corporation's results showed revenues of $13.6 billion, a 6% increase over the previous year, with increases in most business segments.