What happened

Shares of Barnes & Noble Education (NYSE:BNED) were slammed Tuesday, falling 31% by the time the market closed. The stock's sharp decline followed Barnes & Noble Education's earnings release for its second quarter of fiscal 2019.

The sell-off was likely driven mostly by the company's worse-than-expected sales for the period.

A sketch of a chart showing a stock price moving lower

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Barnes & Noble Education reported second-quarter net sales of $814.8 million and earnings per share of $1.25. These figures compare to revenue of $887 million and earnings per share of $1.03 in the year-ago quarter.

While Barnes & Noble Education's earnings per share beat a consensus analyst estimate for $1.21, sales were nearly $28 million lower than the $842.5 million analysts were expecting.

Sales during the period were negatively impacted by lower comparable-store sales at the company's Barnes & Noble College Booksellers (BNC) locations and worse-than-expected publisher penetration for its MBS Textbook rental business.

Now what

Looking ahead, the company remains focused on investing in digital opportunities while preserving current levels of profitability and cash flow.

Acknowledging the company's poor sales trend, Barnes & Noble Education CEO Michael Huseby said, "We are taking steps to improve our sales execution and more aggressively manage expense and capital spending during this transformation to digital platforms and offerings."

Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.