Despite continued decline in B&N fiscal 2014 first quarter results, B&N chair Len Riggio is not buying the B&N retail business—at least not yet. B&N reported a fiscal 2014 first quarter consolidated loss of $87 million, up from the $40 million loss reported for the same period in 2013. First quarter consolidated revenues were $1.3 billion, a decline of 8.5% from the $1.4 billion in consolidated revenue reported for the same period in fiscal 2013.
Riggio has advised the B&N board that he is suspending efforts to make an offer for the company’s retail book business, while noting “I reserve the right to pursue an offer in the future.” Riggio added that “I believe it is in the company’s best interests to focus on the business at hand,” emphasizing a focus on, “building our retail business, and to accelerate the sale of Nook Products inour stores, and in the marketplace.”
B&N reported a loss of $8.9 million in first quarter consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), compared to a positive EBITDA of $5.8 million a year ago. The retail business, consisting of the B&N bookstores and BN.com, reported $1 billion in revenues, a decline of 9.9% from the $1.1 billion in the same period in 2013. College store revenue in first quarter fiscal 2014 increased 2.4% to $226 million, attributable to new store growth. Comparable college store sales decreased 1.2% for the period attributable to the prices of new, used or rental textbooks
Comparable bookstore sales decreased 7.2% in the first quarter, attributable to continued decline in Nook device sales and a stronger lineup (The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades of Grey were mentioned) and stronger sales of titles in fiscal 2013. The retail business generated EBITDA of $65 million in the quarter, a decline of $12 million in comparison to results from the same period in fiscal 2013. College EBITDA loss was $19 million, up from the $14 million in losses during the same period last year, reflecting the expenses involved in opening new stories and investments in digital educational products.
The company’s troubled Nook division (which includes the devices, digital content and accessories), reported $153 million in sales for the fiscal 2014 first quarter, a decline of 20.2% from the $192 million in revenue reported for the same period in fiscal 2013. Device and accessories sales were down 23.1% to $84 million and digital content sales were $68 million, a decrease of 15.8% from a year ago. The company blamed lower device sales as well as a weaker content lineup. However, Nook EBITDA losses of $55 million were comparable to those of same period last year, offset by expense reductions.
Michael P. Huseby, president of Barnes & Noble, Inc. and CEO of Nook Media, said the company is looking for ways to “increase all categories of our content revenue. We are working on innovative ways to sell content to our existing customers and are exploring new markets we can serve successfully.” Huseby said the company intends to continue to offer the Nook line of tablet devices and e-readers as well as support software upgrades and support of the digital bookstore service. And he said that B&N will release “at least one new Nook device for the coming holiday season and further products are in development.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Barnes & Noble saw a first quarter loss of $124 million.