Barnes & Noble sees Nook sales plunge

Revenue from the retailer's e-reader and e-books segment falls 61% from a year earlier to $125 million.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 9, 2014 1:44PM
Credit: © Barnes & Noble handout/AP Photo
Caption: Barnes & Noble's new Nook tabletBy Anna Prior, The Wall Street Journal

Barnes & Noble (BKS) recorded a steep drop in revenue for its Nook e-reader and e-books operation over the holiday period, though the bookstore retailer's comparable bookstore sales were essentially flat.

For the nine-week holiday period ending Dec. 28, the company's Nook segment reported a 61 percent decrease in revenue from a year earlier to $125 million, with device and accessories sales falling 67 percent to $88.7 million due to lower selling volume and lower average selling prices.


The company's retail segment, which consists of its namesake bookstores and BN.com, reported a 6.6 percent drop in revenue to $1.1 billion amid store closures and a 5.5% decline in same-store sales.


Meanwhile, core comparable bookstore sales, which excludes sales of Nook products, edged down 0.2 percent compared with the prior year.


"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 Chief Executive Michael P. Huseby, who was promoted to the post Wednesday.


He added Nook sales declined primarily because the previous holiday season included the introduction of two new tablet products, while no new tablets were introduced this year.


The struggling retailer in August abandoned any plans to split up the company. After considering the idea for 18 months, it said it had decided not to divide its retail stores from its Nook e-reader and e-books operation. Instead, it will focus on managing its current business. Additionally, Leonard Riggio, its chairman and largest shareholder, had declined against going forward with a personal offer to buy the company's roughly 675 consumer bookstores.


The decisions came soon after Barnes & Noble abruptly scaled back its costly pursuit of becoming a big player in the tablet computer market, saying it would stop manufacturing the devices. 


That announcement was followed by the resignation of Chief Executive William Lynch, who was instrumental in Barnes & Noble's push to compete in tablets against Apple (AAPL) and Amazon.com (AMZN). Huseby was named to succeed him about six months later.


Barnes & Noble in November reported fiscal second-quarter profit jumped as the company cut costs, masking a bigger-than-expected decline in revenue.


More from The Wall Street Journal

7Comments
Jan 9, 2014 3:46PM
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 I received a Nook last  year for my Birthday and at first I was like I am not going to use that thing.  Well my Ipad got dropped 1 too many times and was not repairable.  I picked up my Nook and haven't put it down or looked back.  I actually like the NOOK much better than the Ipad.  If I drop it and break it, it will cost me less to replace it than it did to repair my Ipad.  My 2 1/2 year old grandson plays with it constantly (including standing on it) and it is still holding on.  I only had one problem.  It froze for some reason and I googled it - did a hard reset (lost the books I had stored on it but since I store everything through some app on it, they automatically reloaded so my only loss was I had to start over on Candy Crush).  So I am extremely happy with it and since my kids always want to use it, I am planning on buying several more to give to my kids. I give the NOOK 5 stars * * * * *
Jan 9, 2014 6:25PM
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I guess sales would drop if you don't stock the product. Went to buy the new HD+ Nook and all the B+N stores were sold out before christmas got here. Like the original one bought 2 years ago and wanted to upgrade and let the kids use the old one. It still works great. Hate to hear they want to bail out, it's better then the Kendal or the I pad from my view. I prefer to go to the brick and mortar store to buy things. Don't really like amazon or apple anyway. It is more than just an e-book you know. 
Jan 9, 2014 3:01PM
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It was that crack head commercial during Christmas that set people off
Jan 9, 2014 7:19PM
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I bought a Nook for me, my mother, and a sister so I'm did my part. I only wish that they would add a camera feature to the darn thing to make it compete better with the other tablets. But it's really a great deal. I was reluctant to give up my hard cover books for e-reading but I guess that's the trend. 
Jan 9, 2014 6:44PM
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Clearing all the nooks and crannies of all the Repukelican posters stupidity would be an impossible task, except for God.

God, we need your help!
Jan 9, 2014 3:53PM
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Barnes and Noble is a Retail bookstore not a technology company.  They should have never entered the tablet market. I am amazed at how idiotic these CEO's and MBA management is. 
Jan 9, 2014 3:25PM
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Actually I believe that the problem with the Nook is that it wasn't a good product to begin with and Barnes & Noble has not stood behind the product and made the necessary changes to update and keep the customer happy.  Just read some of the problems with the Nook that consumers have had; and how Barnes and Noble responded to those issues.  
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