Comparable store sales of new books declined 9.3% in the third quarter ended October 31 at Hastings Entertainment, the multimedia retailer reported this morning. Hastings said “it is certainly the case that electronic book readers are impacting new book sales,” and hinted that it is ready to stock fewer new titles, observing that in addition to selling more bargain and used books, Hastings is positioned “to adapt to changes in consumer preferences.” Sales of used and value books rose 7.8% for the quarter resulting in a 6.2% drop in book sales overall in the quarter.
The best performing category at the store was trends which benefited from the addition of new and used comics. The café, video game and movies segments all posted solid comp gains as well. Overall, store sales held even at $112.3 million and the net loss declined to $3.1 million from $3.4 million. Still, the loss was higher than expected and the company lowered its full year guidance from 32 cents to 37 cents per share to 27 cents to 32 cents per share; comp sales in the fourth quarter are expected to rise 1%.
For the nine month period, sales were up slightly, to $360.5 million from $355.2 million and the net loss was even at $2.1 million. Book comps were down 3%.