John Wiley posted small gains in sales and earnings for the third quarter ended January 31, 2001, with revenues up 1.6%, to $161 million, and profits increasing 3.6%, to $17.3 million. Company president Will Pesce said results in the period were tempered by industry-wide sluggish sales in the company's higher education, professional/trade segments. During the quarter, Wiley's higher education group had flat revenues, which the company attributed in part to weak performances by college online retailers. Sales in Wiley's professional and trade division were up 4% in the quarter, while the STM division had a sales gain of 5%.

In the international markets, business in Europe was strong, although currency fluctuations hurt final results. Business in Asia and Australia exceeded expectations, Pesce said. Canada had solid sales in its higher education group, but the professional and trade group was hurt by problems at Chapters.

Pesce told analysts in a conference call that Wiley will face difficult comparisons in the last quarter of fiscal 2001 compared with last year's final period, due to a combination of some strong products last year and continuing sluggish sales in the current period. Pesce said he does not believe that the lackluster sales trend will continue throughout all of 2002, but he declined to make any predictions about next year.

For the first nine months of the year, net income was up 14.7%, to $50.7 million, on a 5% revenue increase to $469 million.

As part of its strategy to develop imprints with other organizations, Wiley has reached an agreement with IEEE to publish a cobranded imprint of books in the electrical, electronics and computer engineering fields. The new series will feature at least 30 new titles annually for a minimum of four years. First titles are due out before the end of the year. In a second agreement, Wiley will assume distribution of about 180 IEEE Press backlist titles under the Wiley-IEEE imprint.