Barnes & Noble Nook Narrows Fiscal Loss

National bookseller Barnes & Noble June 21 reported that its Nook unit generated a fourth-quarter (ended April 28) operating loss of $1.5 million, compared to an operating loss of $7.9 million during the previous-year period. Revenue declined 22% to $25 million from $31.9 million last year.

The Nook segment, which includes electronic readers and tablets, in addition to digital content sales, was the lone bright spot for Barnes & Noble. The last-standing national bookstore chain continues to grapple with a changing consumer inundated with online entertainment, books and ecommerce.

Net income ballooned to $21 million on revenue of $786 million. That compared with a loss of $13.4 million and revenue of $821 million last year.

“In fiscal 2018, we developed a long-term strategic turnaround plan, which we continue to execute,” CEO Demos Parneros said in a statement. “Our plan, which includes sales improvements and cost reductions, is expected to yield immediate improvement in fiscal 2019, resulting in [pre-tax earnings] of $175 million to $200 million, and further benefits in the following years.

Indeed, excluding non-recurring or unusual charges in both years, consolidated pre-tax earnings topped $6.7 million in Q4, as compared to $5.6 million a year ago, and $145.4 million in fiscal 2018, as compared to $187.2 million a year ago.

The company reduced expenses by $15 million in the quarter and $52 million for the full year, excluding non-recurring or unusual charges.

“Turnaround plans take time; and while our performance has been somewhat disappointing, we began to make steady progress in fiscal ’18,” said Parneros.

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