MAIN NEWS HEADLINES
March 19 – March 26, 2009 Edition B&N Reports 2.8%
Annual Sales Drop
New York, NY (Authorlink News, March 19, 2009)—Barnes & Noble, Inc., the world’s largest bookseller, today reported that sales fell by 4.8% for the quarter and 2.7% for the full year, compared to fiscal 2007. Store sales were $1,439 million for the quarter and $4,525 million for the full year, ended January 31, 2009. Comparable store sales decreased 7.3% for the quarter and 5.4% for the year, in-line with guidance.
Overall, Barnes & Noble.com sales were $157 million for the quarter and $466 million for the full year. Barnes & Noble.com comparable sales decreased 10.4% for the quarter and 1.3% for the full year as compared to the same periods in fiscal 2007.
Consolidated sales decreased 6% to $1,632 million for the quarter and decreased 3% to $5,122 million for the full year, as compared to the prior year periods.
The fourth quarter decline was partly attributed to severance costs of eliminating corporate positions and an after-tax charge of $2.5 million.
Net earnings were $81.2 million, or $1.46 per share for the fourth quarter, and $75.9 million, or $1.32 per share for the full year. Excluding the two charges noted above, net earnings were $93.3 million, or $1.67 per share for the fourth quarter, and $88.1 million, or $1.54 per share for the full year, in-line with guidance issued on November 20, 2008.
“While 2008 proved to be the most challenging year that the company and the industry have ever experienced, we are proud of our financial results in light of the macro retail environment,” said Steve Riggio, chief executive officer of Barnes & Noble, Inc. “Despite a sales decrease of 3%, gross margins improved by 50 basis points, inventory levels were reduced by 11%, and our focus on expense control and capital expenditures enabled us to generate operating free cash flow of $150 million, exceeding our expectations. As we look to 2009, we expect the challenging environment to continue. Sales forecasts have been planned accordingly and expenses have been cut. The strength of our balance sheet remains a top priority. And, while we are reducing overall expense levels where appropriate, we will continue to invest in the growth areas of the business, as evidenced in our recent acquisition of Fictionwise.”
Looking ahead, the company gave a tentative forecast, based on current trends. B& N store sales are expected to decrease by 6% to 9%, and full-year comparable store sales are also expected to decrease in a range of 4% to 6%.
As of January 31, 2009, the company operated 726 Barnes & Noble stores and 52 B. Dalton stores. During the fourth quarter, five Barnes & Noble stores were opened and seven were closed. Nineteen B. Dalton stores were closed during the quarter.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. will report first quarter earnings on or about May 21, 2009.