Barnes &Noble reported last week that total revenues for the fiscal year ended January 30, 1999, increased 8%, to $3 billion. The gain was led by a 12% increase in superstore sales, to $2.5 billion; superstores now account for 84% of B&N's revenues. Comparable-store sales rose 5% for superstores in the year but fell 1.4% at B. Dalton outlets.
Sales at barnesandnoble.com jumped 381% in the year, to $70.2 million, with the online service generating sales of $31.1 million in the fourth quarter.
Commenting on the results, B&N chairman Len Riggio observed that "by combining the sales of our retail stores with those of barnesandnoble.com, it becomes increasingly clear that the Internet business is strongly accretive and that our customer base and market share are growing."
Investors, however, concerned by a weaker than expected earnings forecast, dropped B&N stock by nearly $5; the company's stock price closed at $31.19 per share on February 23. B&N predicted that earnings for last year would be $1.29 per share and project a 14%-17% gain in earnings in fiscal 2000. Its estimate for the current year is based in part on a 4.5%-5.5% increase in comparable-store sales for its superstores and a flat to 1% gain in same-store sales at Dalton.
During fiscal 2000, B&N will likely open about 50 superstores while closing a similar number of Dalton outlets. The company also reported that it expects to spend $15 million to install a new system that will give store customers access to barnesandnoble.com's title selections.