Sales at Indigo Books & Music fell 3.5% in the second quarter of fiscal 2019, which ended September 29. Revenue was C$216.3 million, down from C$224.6 million in the comparable period in fiscal 2018. The net loss increased to C$19.2 million, from C$4.6 million a year ago.
Indigo attributed the sales decline to the closure of a “few” low-performing stores, as well as renovations at 12 locations. Comparable store sales rose 0.7% in the quarter and, Indigo said, online sales continued to grow for both books and general merchandise.
Indigo reported that the higher loss was primarily due to the impact of its investment in various initiatives, including store renovations and the expansion of its distribution facilities. The chain's bottom line was also impacted by minimum wage increases.
Commenting on results, Indigo CEO Heather Reisman said in a prepared statement: "In this quarter, we continued to invest aggressively to transform both our retail network and our online environments...while this massive transformation has a temporary impact on sales and profitability, we are energized by our customers’ response as our reimagined stores continue to generate impressive revenue and contribution growth.”
Another area of investment for Indigo is investment in the U.S. market. In October, it opened its first store in the U.S., in New Jersey.
For the first half of fiscal 2019, sales fell 2%, to C$421.7 million. That loss widened to C$34.5 million from C$9.9 million in the first six months of fiscal 2018.