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B&N Reports Ugly Holiday Sales All Around

Thu, 01/03/2013 - 10:41am
Andrew Berg

Ahead of its Feb. 19 fiscal second quarter earnings call, Barnes & Noble is reporting a disappointing nine-week holiday period. 

The book seller said today that its retail segment, which consists of the Barnes & Noble bookstores and BN.com businesses, had revenues of $1.2 billion, decreasing 10.9 percent over the prior year. 

The company attributed the to an 8.2 percent decline in comparable store sales, store closures and lower online sales. Core comparable store sales, which exclude sales of Nook products, decreased 3.1 percent as compared to the prior year due to lower bookstore traffic. 

Unlike rival Amazon, which saw record sales of its Kindle eReaders and tablets, B&N said sales of NOOK products in the retail segment declined during the holiday period due to lower unit volume and average selling prices.

The Nook segment, which consists of the company’s digital business (including Readers, digital content and accessories), had revenues of $311 million for the nine-week holiday period, decreasing 12.6 percent as compared to a year ago. Digital content sales increased 13.1 percent, while NOOK device unit sales declined during the holiday period as compared to the prior year. 

Digital content sales are defined to include digital books, digital newsstand, and the apps business.

"NOOK device sales got off to a good start over the Black Friday period, but then fell short of expectations for the balance of holiday," said William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble, in a statement. "We are examining the root cause of the December shortfall in sales, and will adjust our strategies accordingly going forward."

As a result of the Nook sales shortfall, the company now expects fiscal year 2013 Nook Media revenues of approximately $3 billion, and NOOK segment EBITDA losses at a comparable level to fiscal year 2012.

In contrast to B&N, Amazon said its line of Kindle eReaders and tablets once again broke Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales records for the company.

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