Books-A-Million makes online move

Amazon and Barnes & Noble still pose an enormous threat, but things may be looking up for Books-A-Million where losses are declining and the company just hired an e-commerce veteran.

Books-A-Million said revenue for its second quarter ended August 2 declined 0.5% to $108.3 million, same store sales increased 0.1% and it lost $3 million, or 21 cents a share. The loss was significantly less worse than a prior year loss of $9.1 million, or 62 cents a share.

“In our (Books-A-Million) retail stores, the continued improvement in our core book business was a key driver of our performance. The teen and children’s book business was particularly strong, led by the positive impact of media, particularly movie related tie-ins such as John Green’s Fault In Our Stars, and Disney’s Frozen,” said Books-A-Million president and CEO Terrance Finley. “In addition we had a broad group of merchandise categories showing stronger results for the quarter. These included bargain books, general merchandise including gifts and toys, media, and our cafes.”

In a noteworthy development prior to the release of second quarter results, Books-A-Million said it hired James Phelps to serve as vp of e-commerce. In that role he will be responsible for executing the vision, branding, merchandising and marketing strategy for Phelps has held a variety of e-commerce roles during the past 15 years with retailers such as HSN, Kohl’s and Brookstone.

“We are pleased to welcome James to Books-A-Million, and look forward to him bringing his expertise to our team as we continue to build our digital business,” said Cy Fenton, Books-A-Million’s CIO and president of

Phelps said his focus would be to create synergy between the online and in-store shopping experience and give customers compelling reasons to make their primary destination for the best selection of books, toys, tech and other products.

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