Barnes & Noble cut its operating loss in the second quarter, ended October 27, to $26.8 million, down from $52.2 million a year ago. Comparable store sales dropped 1.4% in the period, its smallest decline since the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016, B&N said.Comp sales of books declines 3.0%, while non-book items had a 1.9% comp sales growth led toys & games and cafe.
Total company sales fell 2.5% in the quarter, to $771 million, from the comparable period in fiscal 2018. In a prepared statement, B&N CEO Len Riggio said that though B&N can’t predict the outcome of the holiday sales season, the retailer expects sales to improve in the period. Earlier this year, B&N also said it expected to see comp store sales improve in the holiday quarter.
At the retail level, sales fell 2.2% in the quarter, to $753.2 million. Nook sales dropped 15.8%, to $21.8 million. Retail EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) fell from $25.2 million to $2.3 million in the most recent period. The Nook group posted EBITDA of $1.1 million, up from $161,000 a year ago.
For the first half of fiscal 2019, B&N report total revenue of $1.56 billion, down 6.0% from the first half of fiscal 2018. The operating loss was cut to $43 million, from $67.1 million.