Revenue at Canadian retailer Indigo Books & Music rose 4.4% in the first quarter of fiscal 2017, hitting C$193.1 million, up from C$184.9 million in the comparable period in fiscal 2016. The operating loss for the quarter, which ended July 2, 2016, stayed even at approximately C$9 million.
The revenue increase came despite Indigo operating four fewer outlets than one year ago. Same store sales were up at both its superstores and small format stores, rising by 7.7% in its superstores and 7.8% at the Coles and Indigospirit outlets. Online sales increased 3.8%.
Indigo’s strongest category continued to be its general merchandise segment which posted double-digit growth. Sales of print books rose on a comparable store basis.
The first quarter sales gain came after Indigo reported a 11% sales increase in the fiscal year ended April 2. In a prepared statement, CEO Heather Reisman said she was pleased “that the strong revenue momentum we experienced last year has continued into the new fiscal. All key metrics remain positive which allows us to feel confident about our ability to drive continued revenue growth [and] improved profitability.”
The key to Indigo’s future profitability will rely in part of the success of what it is calling its first “cultural department store.” The outlet, opened during the quarter in Toronto, is 30,000 sq. ft. and in addition to books features gifts and an “enhanced” IndigoKids experience. Indigo said the store is performing above expectations and that is has plans to roll out the new concept to more stores in the near future.