Books-A-Million, which has seen comparable-store sales fall the last several quarters, reported a further 3.3% decline in the third quarter ended October 31. As a result, the company reported a net loss of $1.5 million in the quarter compared to a loss of $300,000 in the same quarter in fiscal 1998. Sales in the period rose 10.3% to $79 million.

BAM president Clyde Anderson said he was "disappointed" with the weak comparable-store sales experienced in the third quarter, adding, that "we saw a continuation of sales trends encountered in the first two quarters of the year." For the first nine months of the year, sales at BAM rose 9.3% to $231.4 million, but the chain reported a net loss of $2 million, compared to a profit of $596,000 through the first three quarters of fiscal 1998. Comparable-store sales to date have fallen 3.7%.

During the quarter, BAM opened six new superstores and one J Muggs Newsstand. J Muggs is BAM's newest concept, featuring more than 3000 English and foreign-language magazine titles as well as a wide variety of newspapers. The outlets also serve hot and cold coffee drinks and pastries.