Total sales for the nation's three major bookstore chains rose 2.7% in the fiscal year ended February 2, to $9.77 billion. The figures were somewhat skewed because the previous year contained 53 weeks—14 in the fourth quarter—which drove down comparisons in the final quarter and for the year. While Barnes & Noble, Borders and Books-A-Million all had actual annual increases of less than 3%, B&N reported that store sales (not including B& rose 4.3% in the year, excluding the extra week, while Borders had a 4.2% increase without the extra week, and BAM had a 5.1% gain.

The retailers were also in agreement that holiday sales tailed off noticeably in the last part of December, a trend that continued in January and into the new fiscal year. Customer traffic remains an issue. B&N said traffic has been down a little, while BAM president Sandy Cochran said that given the “challenging” economic environment, it is a struggle to get people into malls and stores. Cochran said she sees few things changing in the first quarter in the marketplace, while B&N predicted that comp sales will be slightly negative in the first period, but should finish the year slightly positive. Borders CEO George Jones said that the financial targets it set last year for 2008 (fiscal 2009) are still attainable, although it will take longer than originally expected to meet them.

Source: Reed Business Information
* 53 weeks. **14 weeks
Full Year
COMPANY 2006* 2007 % CHANGE
Barnes & Noble $5,261.2 5,410.8 2.8%
Borders Group 3,723.6 3,820.9 2.6
Books-A-Million 520.4 535.1 2.8
Total 9,505.2 9,766.8 2.7
Fourth Quarter
COMPANY 2006** 2007* % CHANGE
Barnes & Noble 1,878.4 1,845.7 -1.7
Borders Group 1,374.0 1,347.1 -2.0
Books-A-Million 174.6 168.3 -3.6
Total 3,427.0 3,361.1 -1.9