NEW YORK — The growing popularity of its Nook devices once again helped drive up sales at Barnes & Noble. The company reported that total sales for the third quarter increased 5% to $2.4 billion from $2.3 billion for the same period last year. Barnes & Noble store sales increased 2% from $1.46 billion to $1.49 billion. Comparable-store sales increased 2.8%, on top of a 7.3% increase a year ago. Retail core comparable-store sales, which exclude sales of devices, accessories and warranties, increased 4.2% over last year.
BN.com sales increased 32% over the prior year, from $319 million to $420 million. Comparable sales increased 42%, on top of a 64% increase a year ago. This increase was driven by continued growth of Nook device and digital content sales, offset by a decline in online physical product sales.
The company's Nook business continues to grow, with consolidated sales in this area increasing 38% during the third quarter to $542 million, on a comparable-sales basis. Nook unit sales increased 64% during the third quarter as compared with the same period last year. Digital content sales increased 85% on a comparable basis. Content sales are defined to include digital books, digital newsstand, and the apps business.
With the growing success of Nook, Barnes & Noble has decided to boost its portfolio with the addition of Nook Tablet. The 8GB tablet is the company's fastest and lightest tablet and retails for $199.
“In the third quarter, our traffic and sales in stores were the highest we’ve seen in five years,” said William Lynch, chief executive officer of Barnes & Noble. “Our physical book sales at our stores increased more than 4% over last year, and our merchandising changes in our juvenile business and our toys and games department experienced double-digit revenue growth in the third quarter. Importantly, our Nook digital content business continues to grow rapidly, and according to some of the largest U.S. publishers, we maintained or slightly gained share in the e-book market during the third quarter. We’re excited about the launch of the NookTablet with 8GB, an incredible value at only $199, and we look forward to welcoming millions of customers into our stores to try our entire award-winning line of Nook products.”
The company reported net income of $52 million for the quarter.
Barnes & Noble said it expects full fiscal year 2012 consolidated sales between $7billion and $7.2 billion. Comparable sales at Barnes & Noble stores are expected to increase 1% and sales are expected to increase 40% to 50% at BN.com. The consolidated Nook business is expected to generate approximately $1.5 billion in comparable sales this fiscal year.