Barnes & Noble Tumbles Following Loss, Plunging Nook Sales

Barnes & Noble Inc. shares tumbled 17 percent after the company posted a quarterly loss and weaker sales, hurt by sluggish online orders and a fast-declining Nook e-reader business.

The company, which spun off its college-bookstore division earlier this year, also has seen store closings eat into revenue. Even as it streamlines the business to compete with Inc., Barnes & Noble is struggling to revive sales growth. The bookstore chain said it expects comparable-store sales to be flat this year, with the Nook weighing on results.

  • The loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization came to $20.5 million last quarter.
  • Excluding a $10.5 million executive severance charge from the college-bookstore spinoff, that figure would have been $10 million -- a small improvement over the year-earlier loss.
  • Sales decreased 4.5 percent to $894.7 million. But comparable-store sales only fell 0.5 percent when excluding Nook products.

The shares fell $2.01 to $10.04 at the close in New York Friday after the results were posted, marking the biggest decline in almost three months. Barnes & Noble has fallen 34 percent this year.

Chief Executive Officer Ron Boire, who took over in September, aims to draw more people to stores with non-book merchandise, including toys and activities. The retailer also has worked to stem losses from the Nook unit by lessening investment and teaming up with Samsung Electronics Co. to produce the devices.

Nook sales fell 32 percent to $43.5 million last quarter, a sign of the platform’s challenges in competing with Amazon’s Kindle.

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