Sales for the first quarter ended May 4 fell 7.4%, to $104.5 million, at Books-A-Million and the net loss increased to $3.7 million from $1.9 million in last year’s first quarter. Comparable store sales fell 6.8%. Excluding sales from digital reading devices, comp sales were down 5.8%.
Company CEO Terry Finley said that results were “slightly below our expectations” as the chain had trouble overcoming last year’s strong sales of The Hunger Games series and Fifty Shades of Grey. BAM said as the growth in e-book sales slows, it saw good gains in its general merchandise category as well as a “solid performance from booksamillion.com.” Finley noted that after a strong first part of the quarter, the comparisons to Grey coupled with an "unremarkable" publishing schedule led to a soft April. Within the books category, graphic novels, diet & health, biography and a number of children's segments did well.
Finley said BAM is again facing "extraordinary headwinds" in the current quarter due to last year's Fifty Shades success and a "modest" publishing schedule. The retailer will continue to look for local opportunities to open new stores in the year.