Books-A-Million followed Barnes & Noble by delivering better than expected first-quarter results, and the nation’s third largest bookstore chain even managed to post a 2.0% sales increase in the period, with revenue hitting $118.2 million. Net income also rose, increasing to $2.1 million from $906,000. Comp store sales declined 1.1%, a better performance than in recent quarters. Clyde Anderson, BAM chairman and CEO, said that given the difficult economic environment, "we’re pleased with our numbers."

The decline in comp sales was attributed to sluggish store traffic and price-sensitive consumers. As a result, BAM's core book business remains "challenged" Anderson said, while the bargain book segment did well, an area the retailer continues to expand. The gift segment also did "fairly well," Anderson said, while in the book segment the teen category, driven by Stephenie Meyer, "did great." Anderson said that while the book lineup for the second quarter is "modest," BAM is "very excited" about the September release of Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol.

Brian White, interim CFO was on the conference call with Anderson; White is sitting in for Douglas Markham, a member of the Navy Reserve who was recalled to active duty in January.