The financial results for Barnes & Noble third quarter of the financial year have been released and, initially, all signs point in good directions for the bookseller. This might come as a surprise to some since speculation grew over the last year that the bookseller was headed toward bankruptcy. Nonetheless, the company is reporting an increase of 2.8% in comparable store sales that, while not as high as last year's 7.3% increase, is still welcome news in an age of struggling book retailers. The total company net income for Barnes & Noble was $52.0 million for the quarter, which was on par with last year's numbers.
Barnes & Noble College, their retail branch that specializes in an inventory of academic textbooks, had a decline in sales from $540 million to $525 million. The company asserts that the rise in lower-priced textbook rentas contributed to the decline of sales in new and used textboks.
BN.com, the company's online branch for retail, returned encouraging numbers. The sales for BN.com increased 32% over last year, up from $319 million to $420 million. The comparable sales increased 42%, a bump that follows last year's increase of 64%.
These numbers appear to have delighted the traders on Wall Street as Barnes & Noble bumped up nearly 4% this morning following the release of the company's financial results for the quarter. Given that yesterday's stock action saw the company's shares remain relatively low (when compared to to where they were two weeks ago), the recovery following today's financial report suggests investors have faith in Barnes & Noble's mission to succeed in their last financial quarter for 2012. A conference call with Barnes & Noble's senior management will be happening this morning, so given on what the bosses have to say could send the company's shares up even more (or down, depending on if traders like what they hear).
For the rest of the upcoming year, the company expects the consolidated sales for the full 2012 fiscal year to land somewhere between $7.0 billion and $7.2 billion as they anticipate a sustainable growth in sales from BN.com
Barnes & Noble credits the success of their online retail site to the continued popularity and growth of their e-reader tablet, Nook. The e-reader has been garnering enough sales of digital content that it's been able to offset the decline in the sales of actual books (and other stuff you might buy through BN.com) through the bookseller's site. From a statement accompanying the release of the Q3 results, Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch said:
“In the third quarter, our traffic and sales in stores were the highest we’ve seen in five years,” said William Lynch, chief executive officer of Barnes & Noble. “Our physical book sales at our stores increased more than 4% over last year, and our merchandising changes in our juvenile business and our Toys & Games department experienced double-digit revenue growth in the third quarter. Importantly, our NOOK digital content business continues to grow rapidly, and according to some of the largest U.S. publishers, we maintained or slightly gained share in the eBook market during the third quarter. We’re excited about the launch of the NOOK Tablet with 8GB, an incredible value at only $199, and we look forward to welcoming millions of customers into our stores to try our entire award-winning line of NOOK products.”
And speaking of Nook, Barnes & Noble is looking to continue pressing the Nook's success with the announcement of a new 8GB model today that will be sold at $199. Information regarding the new Nook was scarce in the press release but it does promise to be "the company's fastest and lightest tablet." On the heels of a new 8GB Nook, the price of the Nook Color will be reduced to $169.