Given a boost by sales of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, book comps rose 2.5% in the second quarter ended July 31 at Hastings Entertainment. In addition to Grey, sales of used books were up, helping to offset declines in hardcover sales. Excluding sales of Nextbook devices, e-books and accessories, book comps in the quarter were up 1.2%. Overall, Hastings reported a 5.9% decline in revenue in the quarter, to $104.1 million, although the net loss was cut to $3.4 million from $4.1 million in the comparable period last year.
In addition to improved book comps, sales were up in all segments except music and games with the largest gain coming in Hastings’s café business. The retailer operated seven fewer outlets in the quarter comapred to a year ago. Company chairman John Marmadukesaid he was pleased that the chain was able to cut its loss in the quarter, but observed that the sluggish economy “continues to impact consumer discretionary spending.”
For the first six months of 2012, book comps increased 0.3%, primarily due to strong paperback sales driven by the Shades series and strong used book sales, partially offset by declining hardcover sales, Hastings reported. Book comps, excluding Nextbook sales, digital books, and accessories, decreased 1.0% for the period.
For the entire company, six month sales fell 6.8%, to $219.5 million, while the net loss fell to $2.5 million from $3.6 million.