The addition of over 40 new stores in last year’s fourth quarter resulted in a 14.9% increase in sales at Books-A-Million for the second quarter ended July 28, with revenue hitting $120.4 million in the period. Comparable store sales, however, increased at a much more modest rate of 0.5%. Still, BAM cut its loss from continuing operations in the quarter to $881,000 from $2.9 million in last year’s second quarter.
In addition to more stores, BAM attributed the increase in sales to Fifty Shades of Grey along with solid performances in the kids, teen, and general merchandise categories. President Terry Finley said BAM's core book business rose more than expected as interest in Fifty Shades brought more people into the stores who were interested in a range of books similar to E.L. James' trilogy. The teen category continued to benefit from The Hunger Games, while sales of conservative books gave a lift to nonfiction. Chairman Clyde Anderson said BAM continued to sell lots of Nooks in the quarter and the number of e-book downloads increased. Finley noted, however, that while the erosion of print sales to digital slowed again in the quarter, it still has had an impact in certain areas, particularly mass market paperback where sales were down in all genres.
Finley said the focus in the third quarter will include using the experience the chain has gained at its new stores to adjust the assortment. At the end of the quarter, BAM had 257 stores; it opened three traditional stores in the quarter and closed one outlet.
For the first six months of 2012, sales increased 12.7% to $233.5 million, with comparable store sales declining 1.8%. Net loss from continuing operations was $2.8 million compared with a loss of $6.3 million in the year-earlier period.
With its stock price down following the announcement that the Anderson family had dropped its bid to take the company private, BAM announced that its board has authorized a $5 million stock repurchase program.