Barnes & Noble Upbeat Entering Key Winter Retail Period

National bookseller Barnes & Noble Nov. 20 reported second-quarter (ended Oct. 27) operating loss of $1.5 million for its Nook business unit – down 48% from an operating loss of $2.9 million during the previous-year period. Revenue dropped nearly 17% to $21.7 million from $25.9 million last year.

The Nook segment, which includes electronic readers and tablets, in addition to digital content (movies, TV shows, music), continues to a bright spot for Barnes & Noble. The last-standing national bookstore chain continues to grapple with a changing consumer habits underscored by online entertainment and ecommerce.

Even better, legacy retail sales – which include packaged media – improved with operating loss of $26.7 million compared to an operating loss of $49.43 million last year. Revenue dipped about 2% to $753.2 million.

Chairman of the board Len Riggio, who took over control of the company following the firing of CEO Demos Parneros for alleged inappropriate behavior in the workplace, said the same-store sales decline of 1.4% was the best result since Q4 in 2016.

“While we cannot predict the outcome of the holiday, we are putting our full effort behind our holiday plans, including launching a new ad campaign,” Riggio said in a statement. “We expect this to lead to continued sales improvement during the holiday period.”

Barnes & Noble Widens Q1 Loss

Barnes & Noble Sept. 6 reported a first-quarter (ended July 28) net loss of $17 million, up 70% from a net loss of $10.7 million during the previous-year period. Revenue dropped 7% to $794 million from $853 million last year.

The national bookseller’s Nook business, which includes digital media such as TV shows and movies, narrowed its operating loss to $330,000 from an operating loss of $2.7 million last year. Revenue dropped 14% to $25.2 million from $29.5 million last year.

“We fully realize that cutting expenses does not alone provide a path to the long-term viability of any retail business. Therefore, our short and long-term focus is to grow our top line, and, by doing so, provide us the cash flow needed to grow our business,” CEO Len Riggiosaid in a statement.

Riggio said comparable store sales continue to sequentially improve each month and continued into the second quarter. Indeed, same-store sales declines narrowed each month in the fiscal quarter from 7.8%, 6.1% and 4.5%, respectively.

“Thanks are due to our team of merchants and the entire store management group from top to bottom,” he said.