Why Is Barnes & Noble Moving Away From Books?

Barnes & Noble

The U.S. bookseller Barnes & Noble was unable to make a profit during the fiscal second quarter ended October 31. The brick-and-mortar bookstore is now planning to focus on selling games, toys, and other items in addition to books.

The company booked a loss of $39.2 million, or 52 cents a share, compared to a profit of $12.3 million, or 12 cents per share, a year earlier. The company attributed this decrease to lower online sales, store closures and a 1% comparable store sales decrease. Sales of the company’s Nook e-reader were dropped during the last quarter.

Barnes & Noble has been facing a tough competition from other online retailers such as Amazon.com.

Sales for the second quarter were $895 million, representing a year-over-year decrease of 4.5%. The company’s retail sales dropped by 3.1% to $861 million compared to the same quarter a year ago. It was unable to improve sales despite offering a wide variety of products including toys, games and gifts.

The sales of NOOK tablets decreased 31.9% to $43.5 million, primarily due to lower content sales, according to the company. Through Black Friday weekend, comparable store sales were increased by 1.1%.

“This holiday season, Barnes & Noble executed large-scale, nationwide events to create excitement and drive traffic to our stores,” Barnes & Noble Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ron Boire stated. “Barnes & Noble’s buyers and merchants have curated an outstanding selection of books, toys and games and gifts, and our booksellers are prepared to help customers find the perfect gift for everyone on their holiday shopping list.”

For fiscal year 2016, Barnes & Noble expects comparable store sales to be approximately flat with the prior year. It anticipates comparable store sales to increase approximately 1%.

The national bookseller is now focusing on toys and games, whose sales were up around 15% during the last quarter, Fortune reported.

Mr. Boire said, during the earnings call, that “while these are smaller pieces of our overall business, it’s clear we are a destination for these products and we see prospects for further growth.”


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