Comparable store sales of books fell 10.7% at Hastings Entertainment in the year ended January 31, 2014, compared to 2012. Sales also fell 8.2% in the fourth quarter. The chain, which announced last week plans to merge, had a total loss in the year of $10.2 million compared to a loss of $9.3 million in 2012 and sales fell 5.7%, to $436.0 million.
In addition to a decline in comp sales in some of its largest categories (consumables, videogames, music plus books) revenue was hurt by the closure of 10 stores during the year; Hastings finished 2013 with 126 outlets. The chain attributed the book comps decline primarily to “a weaker release schedule for new books and a decrease in trade paperback and hardback sales, as compared to fiscal 2012, which included strong sales from the Fifty Shades and Hunger Games trilogies. In addition, sales of digital hardware decreased significantly for fiscal 2013 as compared to fiscal 2012.”
Chairman John Marmaduke observed that the addition of new products in the electronics and trends categories had resulted in positive comps for the year with trends comps up 15.2% for the year and electronics comps ahead 9.9%.
In addition to closing stores, to cut expenses Hastings consolidated its corporate overhead in the year, a move that cut four of eight positions.