Books, along with video, remained the largest product category at Hastings Entertainment in 2012, but with total sales at the retailer falling about 7% in the year, book sales fell by a like amount, dropping to approximately $101 million. Books and video, each accounted for 22% of Hastings’ sales last year, the retailer reported in its 10-K filing.
Earlier this year, Hastings reported that book comps fell 1.3%, primarily due to lower sales in new and bargain books and magazines, partially offset by strong sales of the Fifty Shades series, Nextbook tablets and used books. Hastings said in its filing that it is the first chain to allow customers to trade in their physical books for credit they can use to purchase a Nextbook or to purchase digital content at www.goHastings.com.
Hastings didn’t reveal how much revenue it generated through its site, but it did provide information on its affiliate program. Describing partnering with other Web sites to drive traffic to goHastings.com as a “strong channel,” Hastings said it had approximately 812,000 customers click on an affiliate link last year and that 7.1% of those visits resulted in a sale. Total sales through affiliate marketing were approximately $1.9 million in the year.
In the 10-K, Hastings again said it will continue to remodel additional stores to put more emphasis on its lifestyle and consumer electronic sections where sales are growing and lessening its dependence on entertainment products. It will take away space for movies and rental, but unlike its announcement when it released its earnings earlier this year, the 10-K didn’t mention cutting back on books. The retailer does expect comp sales of books to fall slightly this year, excluding sales of Nextbooks and accessories.
Hastings, which had 137 stores at the end of its fiscal year in January and now has 135 outlets, said it will close a total of eight stores this year.