Comparable store sales rose 0.6% at Barnes & Noble over the nine-week holiday period that ended January 2, 2016 compared to the 2015 holiday season. Excluding sales of Nook products, comp sales were up 1.6% in the period. Despite the improved comp sale performance, overall retail sales in the period fell 0.8%, to $1.1 billion. B&N attributed the sales decline to operating fewer stores and lower online sales through BN.com.
In reporting second quarter sales in December, B&N said that sales at BN.com had been lower than expected due to problems with the revamped website. CEO Ron Boire said at the time the site had been operating better in recent weeks, and in a statement this morning, Boire said he was “encouraged by the improved performance of BN.com during December, as the site remained stable and traffic improved through the holiday period.”
Sales continued to decline in B&N’s Nook division over the holidays. Revenue in the group fell 25.8%, to $41.2 million. Digital content sales were $21.3 million and device and accessory sales were $19.9 million for the holiday period.
Based on the holiday sales results, B&N reported that it continues to expect fiscal 2016 core comp store sales to increase approximately 1%, and comp store sales to be roughly flat. The retailer said it expects to close a total of 10 stores by the end of the fiscal year in April and expects fiscal year EBITDA losses in the Nook segment to decline versus the prior year.