Shares of Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) rose 22.3% in November, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. It's a story in two acts, with a happy ending -- at least temporarily.
Barnes & Noble shares started rising as soon as the election was over. According to a Bloomberg interview, Executive Chairman Len Riggio didn't really care who won as long as the daily feed of campaign-related TV material would finally ebb out. "The preoccupation with the election was hurting sales," he said. Share prices rose 14% in four market days directly following the election.
Then, Barnes & Noble released a strong second-quarter report and shares took another 11% northward leap in a single day. Soft sales were once again explained by the election effect, and Riggio expected revenue to strengthen with that consumer distraction out of the way.
On the earnings call, Riggio provided some additional detail on the election effect.
"We got hit during the television viewing hours, and we were normal or even better than normal elsewhere during the day," Riggio said. "And the same pattern held for the weekends where during the week we had pressure on our sales, and then on the weekends, sales would be normal-ish. So we are thinking we are going to come out of this."
The company is also in the middle of a serious cost-cutting project, which contributed to a smaller-than-expected net loss in the second quarter. If Riggio is reading the election tea leaves right, the holiday quarter seems poised for a strong performance.