Barnes & Noble.com Reports 13.4 Percent Increase in Q1 2004

May 1, 2004
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May 1-15, 2004 Edition

Barnes & Noble.com

Reports 13.4 Percent

Increase in Q1 2004

NEW YORK/04/27/04¬óBarnes & Noble.com (Nasdaq:BNBN) ( www.bn.com) has announced that its comparable sales for first quarter 2004 were $120.2 million, a 13.4 percent increase over the prior year period. Comparable sales reflect the gross amount of used and out-of-print sales, consistent with how these sales were recorded in the prior year period. First quarter 2004 net sales increased 8.4 percent to $114.9 million as compared with the first quarter of 2003.

The net loss for the first quarter was ($9.8) million, or ($0.06) per share, a 25.6 percent improvement from a net loss of ($13.1) million, or ($0.08) per share for the first quarter of 2003. EBITDA loss (loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for the first quarter of 2004 was ($3.7) million, a 36.8 percent improvement as compared to with an EBITDA loss of ($5.9) million in the first quarter of 2003.(1)

During first quarter 2004, the company continued reducing and leveraging its expense base. Total operating expenses decreased 4.7 percent quarter over quarter and decreased as a percentage of net sales to 32.6 percent in the first quarter 2004 from 37.1 percent in the first quarter 2003.

“We are extremely pleased with our first-quarter results,” said Marie Toulantis, chief executive officer of Barnes & Noble.com. “We realized strong sales momentum in the quarter with a comparable sales increase of 13.4 percent, and we enter the second quarter well positioned to reach our target of full-year EBITDA profitability.”

Second Quarter 2004 Outlook

Net sales are expected to range between $85 million and $95 million, resulting in a net loss per share of ($0.06) to ($0.08).

Full-Year 2004 Outlook

Net sales are expected to range between $435 million and $475 million, resulting in a net loss per share of ($0.13) to ($0.18).

Merger Update

Barnes & Noble.com expects to file a definitive proxy statement with the Security Exchange Commission regarding the proposed merger with a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, Inc. by Monday, May 3, 2004.

About Barnes & Noble.com

Barnes & Noble.com is a leading Internet-based retailer of books, music, DVD/video and online courses. Since opening its online store ( www.bn.com) in March 1997, Barnes & Noble.com has approximately 18 million customers in 230 countries. Barnes & Noble.com’s bookstore includes the largest in-stock selection of in-print book titles with access to approximately one million titles for immediate delivery, supplemented by more than 30 million listings from its nationwide network of out-of-print, rare and used book dealers. Barnes & Noble.com offers its customers fast delivery, easy and secure ordering, and rich editorial content.

SAFE HARBOR

This release may contain forward-looking statements regarding expectations of the company. These statements are based on the beliefs of the management of the company as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to the management of the company. Such statements reflect the current views of the company with respect to future events, the outcome of which is subject to certain risks, including among others general economic and market conditions, changes in product demand, the growth rate of Internet usage and e-commerce, possible disruptions in the company’s computer or telephone systems, possible increases in shipping rates or interruptions in shipping service, effects of competition, the level and volatility of interest rates, the performance of the company’s new product initiatives, the successful integration of acquired businesses, unanticipated adverse litigation results or effects, product shortages, changes in tax and other governmental rules and regulations applicable to the company and other factors, risks and uncertainties more specifically set forth in the company’s public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements herein speak only as of the date of this release. The company expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement included in this release to reflect any changes in the company’s expectations or any changes in events, conditions, or circumstances on which any such statement is based. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results or outcomes may vary materially from those described herein.

(1) The first quarter 2004 EBITDA loss of ($3.7) million consisted of a net loss of ($9.8) million before interest income of $0.09 million and depreciation and amortization of ($6.1) million. The first quarter 2003 EBITDA loss of ($5.9) million consisted of a net loss of ($13.1) million before interest income of $0.14 million and depreciation and amortization of ($7.3) million. The company’s management considers EBITDA to be an important measure in evaluating the company’s financial performance and uses this measure in managing ongoing operations.

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