Barnes & Noble Reports Holiday Comparable Store Sales

Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) today reported that comparable store sales decreased 9.1% for the nine-week holiday period ending December 31, 2016. Online sales increased approximately 2% for the holiday period.

The sales decrease was largely due to lower traffic, as well as the decline in coloring books and artist supplies – a reversal of last year’s phenomenon – and the comparison to last year’s best-selling album by Adele – the largest selling CD in our history – which combined accounted for approximately one third of the sales decline.

In spite of the holiday sales shortfall, the Company is still expected to exceed last year’s operating profit owing to strong expense management.

“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.”

Based on the holiday sales results, consolidated EBITDA is now expected to be at the low end of the Company’s previously issued range, as the sales decline has been somewhat mitigated by expense reductions. The Company expects fiscal 2017 comparable store sales to decline approximately 6% and consolidated EBITDA to be approximately $200 million, excluding the impact of any charges related to its cost reduction initiatives and costs associated with the CEO departure. Fiscal 2017 Retail EBITDA is now expected to be approximately $225 million, while NOOK’s EBITDA loss is expected to be approximately $25 million, which includes previously announced transitional costs.

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