It hurts to turn the page these days if you're Borders
Poor same-store sales have hurt the company's performance during the third quarter, which ends on Saturday. Its namesake stores suffered a 0.7% decline, along with a 5.4% swoon at Waldenbooks. The company was hoping for slightly better comps when it originally projected a loss of no more than $0.12 a share for the quarter. It is now looking to post a deficit of between $0.16 and $0.20 per share.
There was no Harry Potter to save the day this time. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released during the company's fiscal second quarter, which helped push comps 4.3% higher at its flagship superstores despite a double-digit decline in music sales.
The bigger issue this quarter, though, is the expense the company has incurred in remodeling its stores, from upgrading its cafes to building out its stationery offerings. If comps keep falling, investors have every right to question the company's vision in paying up for what would have to be considered ineffective changes.
Shareholders also need to be concerned about the withdrawal of the retailer's fourth-quarter targets. Back in August, Borders was pegging the seasonally spiked quarter's profits between $1.80 to $1.90 a share. That would have represented a slight improvement to last year's $1.62-per-share showing.
These have been trying times for the booksellers. Realizing that they have exhibited lackluster growth lately, they have tried to keep their shareholders happy by appealing to their pocketbooks. Borders, Books-A-Million
It's not that we're reading fewer books. It's just that retailers have found more exciting ways to deliver the written word in recent years. Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation Amazon.com
Borders isn't going away. One can't even argue that it's a technological step behind, since it was smart enough to have Amazon run its dot-com store. It just seems to have lost its way in the short term.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz loves reading so much that he married an English teacher. OK, so maybe she wasn't teaching English when they first met. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.