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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Barnes & Noble Holiday Sales Down 5.4% Over 2008


More bad news. Stores now order fewer books, don't even put all of them out for sale, AND return them early for credit. And sales are down. Again. Significantly. When I go into our local chain store and see how poorly trained the staff members are, how uncaring they appear, how little they really seem to want to sell books, it drives me to distraction. If I ran the store, sales would explode. I guarantee it. Note where their sales improved.

Read on:
The nine-week holiday selling period at Barnes & Noble was another rough one, with same-store sales down 5.4 percent at $1.1 billion (and bear in mind that the comps a year ago were down 7 percent from 2007). Sales at BN.com rose 17 percent however, at $134 million, in large part because of nook revenues recognized in that period. (BN.com had sales of $114 million in the same period a year ago. When the company reported second quarter earnings in late November, BN.com was up 9 percent for the period. So figure that recognized nook revenues are roughly between $10 million and $20 million."

Holiday sales were "lower than expected," and the company lowered their guidance on earnings for the full quarter from $1.30 to $1.50 a share down to $1.20 to $1.40 a share. BN already reduced full-year earnings guidance in November based on holiday doldrums and extra costs of ramping up the nook.

CEO Steve Riggio indicates in a brief statement it will take them another few months to catch up with nook demand: "Orders for nook remained strong throughout the holiday season, and, in fact, accelerated after we announced that we had sold out our initial supply. Demand remains strong in the New Year and greater than our supply, however, we expect production to catch-up with demand and be fully stocked in our stores in the next few months."
And books?

--tps

4 comments:

Drew@CWBA said...

Ted,
Exactly. Nearly every time I've witnessed a customer ask a B&N or Borders employee about a book they wish to see or purchase, the employee immediately runs to the computer and starts typing. Anyone can do that. Although certainly some do, most of the employees seemingly have almost nothing in the 'ready recall' region of their brains pertaining to books. What a waste of a selling opportunity. Even if the store doesn't have that particular book, what about an alternative suggestion?

I only go into these places to read the magazines.

Jim Schmidt said...

Ted - Interesting. To be fair, though, the coffee and scones are terrific (just kidding). I know I'd love to hear one or two ideas that you have to improve the retail business. I wonder how indie stores fared in the past year? Look forward to another year of great and insightful posts from you and Sarah. Jim Schmidt

Robert said...

I worked for B&N over a decade ago and it is a completely different world when I go into the same store. It is sad really. The "help" is a joke as is most of the selection unless you want the same crap that is on bestseller lists everywhere. You can get that at Target why go to a bookstore for it. The Civil War section is down to 3 (count them, 3) shelves. Can't make sales when you don't stock product. And to think they just repurchased B&N College. Not sure what sense that make either. The Nook better deliver or there could be a lot more blood spilled this year.

staghounds said...

You don't understand. Big box book stores aren't catering to customers who know what they want- they can't compete with the web for that business.

For the customers who do know what they want, a customer/computer interface employee works fine.

The nook/ "I want a (book by category)" business is their business.