Barnes & Noble executives had repeatedly promised last year that comparable store sales in the 2018 holiday shopping season would top results in what was an admittedly soft 2017 holiday period. In results announced this morning, B&N delivered on that promise, reporting that same store sales increased 4.0% between Black Friday and New Year’s Day and 1.3% for the nine-week holiday period ending December 29, 2018.
The results, B&N said, boasted the best comparable sales performance for the company "in several years." Yet the sales rise did come at something of a cost: a key factor in boosting sales was higher advertising and promotional spending, and the company said the higher expenses could reduce full year earnings guidance by as much as 10%.
In addition to more promotional spending, B&N attributed the sales increase to improvements made to its website, as well as to a good response to its buy online and pick up in store initiative.
“Although we got off to a slow start, sales picked up momentum as we moved deeper into the season, and we finished strongly in accordance with our expectations,” B&N chairman Len Riggio said in a statement. "The entire organization deserves credit for our great results, especially our 23,000 local booksellers.”
B&N will report third quarter earnings and provide an update on guidance on or about February 28, 2019.