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Barnes & Noble Reports Flat Sales For Third Quarter

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December 1-15, 2005 Edition

Barnes & Noble

Reports Flat Sales

For Third Quarter

NEW YORK, NY/11/27/05—Barnes & Noble today reported earnings of $327,000 for the three months ended Oct. 29, placing the nation’s leading bookseller at a break-even point on a per share basis. The latest results were sharply off from year-ago earnings of $7.57 million, or 10 cents per share. The latest results, however, were better than the 2-cents-per-share loss analysts projected.

Sales for the third quarter totaled $1.08 billion, an increase from $1.04 billion in the same period the previous year, and slightly below analysts predictions.

The newest financial results included $2 million in expenses for a new distribution center. Without those expenses, net earnings wound have been 3 cents per year.

“Third-quarter sales met expectations, benefiting from a strong hardcover release schedule in October,” said Steve Riggio, CEO of Barnes & Noble, in a statement. “If our sales trend continues, we are optimistic that the company will be able to deliver its fourth-quarter results as planned.”

Sales to date at Barnes & Noble were $930.5 million, up 4 percent over the year-ago period. Same store sales (at stores open at least a year), rose 1.5 percent. Sales at B. Dalton stores dropped 21 percent from the previous year to close at $28.4 million. The sales decline was primarily due to store closings. Same-store sales at B. Dalton stores declined 1.6 percent.

Online sales at Barnes & Noble.com rose 8 percent over a year ago to $99.4 million.

Barnes & Noble is projecting fourth quarter earnings per share of $1.72 to $1.76, better than the $1.69 per share estimate from analysts. For the full year, the company is increasing its guidance from a range of $1.94 to $1.98 up to $1.99 to $2.03 per share.

The company predicts that same-store sales for the fourth quarter at Barnes & Noble stores will be in the low-single digits. But they are still predicting a sales increase of about 2 to 3 percent for the full year.

For the first nine months of the year, Barnes & Noble sales reached $3.35 billion and earnings were $23.7 million, or 33 cents per share, compared with $27.75 million, or 38 cents per share in the comparative year-ago period on sales of $3.20 billion.