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Barnes & Noble Inc. Stock Slumps as Losses Widen

By Timothy Green - Sep 9, 2015 at 1:31PM

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The bookseller suffered from both declining revenue and higher costs, disappointing investors and sending shares tumbling.

What: Shares of bookseller Barnes & Noble (BKS) crashed on Wednesday after the company reported its fiscal-first-quarter results. At 1:30 Wednesday afternoon, the stock was down about 15%.

So what: Barnes & Noble completed the spinoff of its education business, Barnes & Noble Education, after the close of the first quarter, so $239 million of revenue from that business is included in Barnes & Noble's results. The company recorded total revenue of $1.22 billion, down 1.5% year-over-year, with both the retail and the NOOK segments shrinking.

The retail business, which accounts for most of the company's revenue, recorded comparable-store sales growth of 1.1% during the quarter, but store closures more than offset this growth, leading to a 1.7% decline in revenue. Sales from the NOOK business fell by 22.4% year-over-year, with digital content sales slumping 28%.

Barnes & Noble reported a net loss of $0.68 per share, worse than a loss of $0.56 per share during the same period last year. The average analyst estimate was for a net profit of $0.12 per share, although the inclusion of the education business in the results may muddle the comparison. EBITDA generated by the retail segment, the only segment producing positive EBIDTA during the quarter, declined by 32% year-over-year due to higher costs and a lower gross margin.

Now what: Barnes & Noble's NOOK business continues to be a thorn in the company's side, but losses from the segment are expected to decline during fiscal 2016. The retail business, which is the company's main segment following the spinoff of the education business, showed some signs of life during the quarter, with comparable-store sales growing. But costs rose despite an overall decrease in revenue, pressuring the bottom line.

The Barnes & Noble turnaround effort continues, but investors are clearly less confident given the poor first-quarter results from the company.

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