Barnes & Noble Announced Holiday Sales, Cutting Outlook for the Whole Year

Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS) reported its holiday comparable store sales for the nine-week period ending December 31, 2016.

According to the statement, comparable sales during the holiday period dropped 9.1%, which is the first decline in three years, while online sales rose around 2%. The decrease in comparable sales was partly due to the decline in coloring books and artist supplies, and also lower traffic. However, due to the strong expense management, the company hopes to surpass operating profits of last year.

Compared to the decline in 2016, the company gained profits from sale of hot new album by Adele and adult coloring-book last year, when the comparable sales rose 0.6%.

In the report, the company cut outlook for the whole fiscal year base on the holiday sales result. Comparable store sales for the whole fiscal 2017 were expected to drop 6%. Consolidated EBITDA was expected to be around $200 million, excluding certain charges and costs related with CEO’s departure. In addition, retail EBITDA is anticipated to be around $225 million, and NOOK’s EBITDA will be around $25 million.

“Although books outperformed the company as a whole, we were not pleased with our results,” said Len Riggio, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble, Inc. “Fortunately, post-holiday traffic and sales have improved and we are optimistic for the remainder of the fiscal year, and we believe this most unusual retail season may be behind us.”

Recently, Barnes & Noble opened three new stores and in the next fiscal year, the fourth one will be opened. By the end of the current fiscal year, the company will close 12 stores.

“Barnes & Noble will continue to offer a relaxing and enjoyable place to buy a book, and there’s a need for that. It’s just not a growing need, and that’s the problem,” said an analyst with Gabelli & Co.

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