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HarperCollins profits plummet

HarperCollins suffered a massive decline in profits over the past 12 months, according to financial results posted yesterday by parent company NewsCorp. Operating income for the year plummeted to $17 million from $160 million in 2008, a decline of 89%. For the three months ending June 30, the company posted a loss of $1 million, compared to operating profits of $28 million for the same period last year. Revenue for the year was down by 18% to $1.14 billion; quarterly revenue was down by 21% compared to the same period last year, from $350 million to $278 million.

The financial results do not break out the performance of the company’s international branches, but HarperCollins CEO David Kent told Q&Q that for the year ending June “we finished just where we wanted to, and we’re very pleased with the company’s performance.”

The company release cited a weak retail market as the reason for the overall decline, but reported solid sales in the last quarter for Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man by Steve Harvey, Sooner or Later by Debbie Macomber, and L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad. HarperCollins U.S. shuttered its Collins division earlier in the year, incurring one-time costs totalling $33 million, Publishers Weekly reports.

Overall, NewsCorp reported a full-year adjusted operating income of $3.6 billion, a $1.7 billion decline from the previous year. Total revenue for the year was $30 billion, down 8% from the $33 billion posted in fiscal 2008. CEO Rupert Murdoch stated in the release that “[t]he past year has been the most difficult in recent history, and our 2009 financial performance clearly reflects the weak economic environment that we confronted throughout the year.”