Just a couple of days after news that Barnes & Noble permanently closed its onetime flagship on Fifth Ave. in New York, the company reported a revenue decrease of 6.6% for the nine-week holiday period ending Dec. 28, 2013 in its retail segment.
The decrease over the prior year in the retail segment, which consists of the Barnes & Noble bookstores and BN.com, was fueled by a 5.5% decline in comparable sales and store closures. Core comparable bookstore sales, which exclude sales of Nook products, decreased 0.2% as compared to the prior year.
The Nook segment (including digital content, devices and accessories) had revenues of $125 million for the nine-week holiday period, dropping 60.5% as compared to a year ago. Device and accessories sales were $88.7 million for the holiday period, a decrease of 66.7% from a year ago, due to lower unit selling volume and lower average selling prices. Digital content sales were $36.5 million for the holiday period, a decline of 27.3% compared to a year ago due to lower device unit sales and lower average selling prices.
"We are pleased with our holiday sales results, especially our core comparable bookstore sales, which were essentially flat and an improvement as compared to the first half of the year," said newly named CEO Michael P. Huseby. “During the holiday period we benefitted from a strong line-up of bestselling titles, great execution by our booksellers and merchants, an effective advertising campaign and strong increases in our juvenile, gift and toys and games categories.”
Huseby explained that sales in the Nook segment declined year-over-year largely because during the previous holiday season the company introduced two new tablet products, while no new tablets were introduced this year. “Instead, we executed our plan to sell through our existing high-quality devices," he added.
Barnes & Noble will report third quarter results in late February.