February 7 – February 14, 2008 Edition

JPMorgan Downgrades

Barnes & Noble to Neutral,

Portending Tough Times Ahead

JPMorgan has downgraded Barnes & Noble, the world's largest bookseller, to "neutral" in anticipation of a very tough year for the company in 2008. The announcement came Tuesday from Boston. Read the full story at

Barnes & Noble's disappointing holiday sales may foreshadow a tough year, which JPMorgan said is "structurally challenged" in a competitive marketplace.

Barnes & Noble reported a 0.4% holiday comp decline in early January, well below expectations for "low single digit" growth.

Historically, book industry growth slows in election years as customers focus on media events and debates in lieu of bookstore browsing, said a spokesperson for JPMorgan, which believes the slowdown may be more pronounced in 2008 given an anticipated tight presidential race.