Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Instant Analysis: Barnes & Noble Releases Holiday Sales Figures

By Eric Volkman - Jan 8, 2016 at 7:15AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The company reports some growth but not enough to impress the market.

What happened?
Barnes & Noble (BKS) has posted its results from the holiday period, which it defines as the nine-week stretch ending this past Jan. 2. For the period, total retail sales amounted to $1.1 billion, 0.8% lower on a year-over-year basis.

"Core" comparable-store sales (i.e., excluding sales of NOOK e-readers and associated products) rose by 1.6% on a year-over-year basis, which the company didn't hesitate to say was the second holiday season in a row the metric increased. With NOOK goods included, comparable store sales crept up by 0.8%.

It's no wonder there was such a difference. When teased out from the broader results, NOOK sales recorded a steep decline -- by nearly 26% to just over $41 million.

Looking ahead, the company reiterated its guidance for fiscal 2016. It still believes comparable-store sales growth will be more or less flat, with core comps rising by around 1%.

Does it matter?
Life isn't easy for bricks-and-mortar retailers these days; Barnes & Noble is Exhibit A. The company still has a very strong physical presence, in the form of its many big stores. The cost of keeping those places open and staffed makes it tougher to compete against the likes of a slick, online-heavy operator like No wonder Barnes & Noble has posted net losses in four out of its five previous fiscal years. The NOOK line was an honest attempt to carve out a niche in the digital space, but the market for dedicated e-readers isn't what it used to be, not least because there is a flood of other products on the market that allow readers to consume e-literature.

So, looked at a certain way, the company deserves some credit for showing any growth at all. But that isn't impressive enough to give any oomph to the stock price, which at under $9 per share continues to tease its one-year low and is down by nearly 44% since Jan. 2015.

Eric Volkman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends, and owns shares of Barnes & Noble. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Barnes & Noble, Inc. Stock Quote
Barnes & Noble, Inc.

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 08/10/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.