Sales for the third quarter ended November 2 at Books-A-Million fell 3.5%, to $100.4 million, and its net loss deepened to $7.1 million, from $2.8 million in the third period of 2012. Same store sales fell 8.5%. The results were an improvement over the second quarter when total sales declined 8.6% and comps dropped 12%. During the quarter, BAM opened two superstores and closed one. For the year, BAM has shut three stores in areas where in no longer has a presence.
BAM president Terry Finley said comp sales improved throughout the third quarter and that BAM is “encouraged by the book and merchandise lineup as we prepare for the holiday season.” Finley said print sales have continued to stabilize more as sales of e-books have slowed. Two print categories that did particularly well in the third quarter were biography (Duck Dynasty books) and diet and health. While the slower growth of e-books has been a positive for BAM overall, it did hurt in one area as the sale of Nook devices and accessories slowed. Magazine sales have also slowed, Finley said, and while bargain books has been another area that has had weak sales, business there has started to improve.
BAM is also upbeat about several non-book areas in the general merchandise field including sales of licensed merchandise tied to such pop culture hits as Duck Dynasty and Dr. Who. Sales of toys have also been solid.
For the first nine months of 2013, sales at BAM were $313.5 million down from $335.8 million, and the net loss increased to $20 million from $5.6 million.