Total revenue fell 1.8% at Barnes & Noble in its third quarter ended January 30, 2016, compared to the same period a year ago. The retailer did, however, deliver some positive news in its latest earnings report noting, among other thing, a jump in net income.
Last year net income in B&N's third quarter hit $72.2 million; this year the chain hit $80.3 million in Q3. Comparable store sales rose 0.2% and, excluding Nook products, comp stores were up 1.3% over last year’s third period.
B&N CEO Ron Bore said that given the encouraging retail trends, B&N will close fewer stores in any year since fiscal 2000 (a total of eight), and that the chain will open four new concept stores during fiscal 2017. The company has been working on new prototype stores that work within what Boire called his "omni-channel" approach to retailing (which leverages physical stores to encourage customers to buy products online). With the opening of the new stores, B&N said it expects to have a net reduction of 10 outlets in fiscal 2017.
The company cut its loss in its Nook division by $17.9 million, to $11.1 million. Nonetheless, revenue in the segment dropped 33.3% to $51.8 million, as sales of both hardware and digital content fell.
Total sales through the retail segment declined 1.2%, to $1.39 billion, as sales through BN.com fell again. Sales were also hurt by store closures. In prepared remarks, Boire said adult coloring books, toys and games, and music and gift all did well in the quarter. Sales of adult trade and juvenile books fell in the quarter.
For the first nine months of fiscal 2016, which ends April 30, total revenue was down 2.9%, to $3.29 billion. Net income declined to $6.2 million, from $56.0 million. The company said it still expects comparable store sales to be approximately flat with the prior year. Excluding Nook products, comparable store sales are expected to increase approximately 1%. The company also expects full fiscal year EBITDA losses in the Nook segment to decline, compared to fiscal 2015.