Sales at Barnes & Noble's retail stores fell 5% in the nine-week holiday period ended January 2, falling to $1.1 billion. Same-store sales declined 5.4% in the period, and the nation's largest book retailer acknowledged that results were below expectations. For the full third quarter that ends at the end of January, B&N had expected same-store sales to decline 1%—3%. Slow customer traffic was cited as the main reason for the shortfall.
A bright spot was Barnes&Noble.com, where sales increased 17% over the holiday period, to $134 million. B&N.com's revenue includes sales of the Nook, which the company began including once it started shipping devices after Thanksgiving. B&N is continuing to fill backorders for the e-reader and hopes to have the device in its stores in the next few months. Because of the lower than expected holiday sales, B&N has lowered its earnings guidance for the third quarter, cutting it to a range of $1.20 to $1.40 per share from the previous forecast of $1.30 to $1.50 per share.