It's news that few in the industry want to hear: Barnes & Noble announced that because of softer than expected sales, it is lowering its forecast for both fourth-quarter comparable-store sales and earnings per share for the period. B&N chief financial officer Larry Zilavy said slow customer traffic at its superstores will result in same-store sales at those outlets ranging from flat to down 3%. The disappointing fourth-quarter sales will make it impossible for B&N to achieve comparable-store growth of 2%—3% for the second half of the year, as it had previously forecast. Because sales are off, B&N said, earnings per share in its bookstore division will be between $1.19 and $1.31. In a conference call last month, Zilavy indicated that the $1.31 per share was at the low end of projections, explaining that the bookstore division would earn $1.31 per share even if superstore sales "comped at zero." The possibility of negative comps forced the company to lower its earnings estimate.