Books-A-Million will open 10 to 12 superstores in 2005, its most aggressive new store schedule in several years. The company also said it will remodel 15-20 stores this year. BAM president Sandra Cochran made the announcement in conjunction with the release of the retailer's results for the year ended January 29, 2005. Total revenue in the year rose 3.7%, to $475.2 million, and net income jumped 43.4%, to $10.2 million. The gain was driven by new store openings and an increase of 2.5% in same store sales.

Sales in the fourth quarter rose 2.9%, to $149.4 million, as improved sales in December and January offset soft sales in November, and the company posted a profit margin of 6.1% in the period. BAM CFO Rick Wallington attributed the higher margin to less discounting in the quarter and higher sales of proprietary product. Among the top-selling titles were America (The Book), and Your Best Life Now in nonfiction, with fiction sales led by novels from Michael Crichton, John Grisham, Jimmy Buffett and James Patterson.

Cochran said the author lineup for the first quarter was "positive," citing Honeymoon, The Broker, Your Best Life Now and French Women Don't Get Fat as steady strong sellers, along with some surprise hits such as The Kite Runner. BAM said it expects earnings in the first quarter to be below last year because of new-store opening costs, but that profits should rise for the full year.