March 23-30, 2006 Edition

Barnes & Noble

Reports 5 Percent

Hike in 2005 Sales

NEW YORK, NY/3/17/06—Barnes & Noble increased sales “by every single important financial metric” in 2005, according to CEO Steve Riggio, in reporting fourth quarter and 2005 results. He attributed the “great year” to strong expense controls and an improved gross margin.

The huge chain store book retailer increased sales by 5 percent, overall for the year, posting a total of $5.1 billion in revenues. The chain also posted $1.8 billion in sales for the fourth quarter ending January 28, a 5 percent increase for the fourth quarter.

Comparable stores sales grew 2.9 percent for the year without any advertising expenditures or additional coupon promotions, according to Riggio. He attributed record operating cash flows to tight management of inventories.

For the entire year, Barnes & Noble store sales grew 6 percent to $4.4 billion, while sales were $439.7 million, an increase of 5 percent. In the fourth quarter, Barnes & Noble store sales increased 6 percent to $1.4 billion. Web site sales were up 1 percent to $152.6 million.

In the bookselling division, net earnings rose 19 percent for the year to $146.7 million and 10 percent for the quarter to $123 million. Comparable store sales increased by 2.9 percent for the year, and fourth quarter sales grew 3.8 percent.

Barnes & Noble is repurchasing shares of stock in the company, and has already acquired 1.6 million more shares, for $68.2 million in the first quarter of 2006. Barnes & Noble used its strong $362 million cash flow to prepay Barnes & Noble’s $245 million term loan, and also to acquire 7.7 million shares for $282.7 million.