Indigo Books & Music, Canada's leading book retailer, reported a 12.4% drop in sales in its second quarter ending September 30, 2023. Sales were C$206.9 million for the period, down from C$236.2 million in the comparable period last year, resulting in a net loss of C$22.4 million in the second quarter, up from a loss of C$15.9 million a year earlier.
Sales were down both at physical stores and through the company's website, which was relaunched after a cyber attack shut it down earlier this year. Retail sales fell by C$16.2 million, or 9.5%, to C$154.2 million. Online sales decreased by $12.7 million, 23.4%, to C$41.5 million
The company blamed the declines on the "challenging macro-economic environment" and the resulting "price sensitivity"—i.e. inflation. CEO Heather Reisman, who returned to the company after a short retirement earlier this year, issued a brief statement that said the company has "a clear road map and are committed to returning Indigo to profitability and growth" and echoed comments she made in a recent interview with Bloomberg.
In that interview, Reisman was more effusive, noting that the company took a "journey off brand." After stating that succession at the firm had proven challenging, Reisman said the bookseller took wrong turn pivoting away from books. "We have a commitment to the entire publishing industry, the writers in [Canada] and the millions of readers who saw Indigo as their happy place," Reisman said, explaining that the firm bled credibility in "dribs and drabs" resulting from its focus on non-book items, such as outdoor grills and, even, vibrators.
"It was taking the firm in the wrong direction and financially, it was showing," Reisman said. She added that the company's board had considered putting the chain up for sale, but opted not to pursue that option. Reisman pointed out that former Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle is now serving as the chairman of the company and that "books will return to the center" of the business. It will be a "year-long journey" and she pointed to the opening of the new store at The Well in Toronto as a positive sign.