Reporting result for the first time since completing the acquisition of Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, Barnes & Noble Inc. said total revenue rose 4%, to $1.16 billion, with sales from the college stores contributing $65 million to overall revenue. Sales from B&N general stores fell 2% in the quarter ended October 31, to $950 million, with comparable sales down 3.2% in the period. B&N.com had a good quarter with sales ahead 9%, to $120 million. The company noted that comps for the college stores fell 0.2% in the quarter. Net loss in the quarter was $23.9 million, up from $18.2 million in last year’s comparable period; the loss in the most recent quarter includes a number of one-time expenses associated with its purchase of the college division.
CFO Joe Lombardi said retail traffic remained sluggish in the quarter with average ticket sales down slightly. Comp sales improved in October as B&N faced easier comparisons with last year's October results. The sales gain at B&N.com include results from e-books.
B&N said that due to the “overwhelming consumer demand” for the Nook it is ramping up its production capacity for the e-reader, a move that will increase costs. In addition, the company believes retail traffic will remain “challenged” in the holiday quarter. Taking into account those factors, B&N lowered its earnings guidance for the full year to 33 cents to 63 cents per share compared to earlier predictions of earnings per share of 59 cents to 89 cents. Comp sales at the general stores are projected to fall between 1% to 3% during the holiday quarter and be down 2% to 4% for the full year. College comps are forecast to be flat to up 2% in the current quarter.