This morning, leading bookseller Barnes & Noble
Total revenue climbed 4% for the quarter to $1.09 billion, driven by a 5% increase in sales from the company's namesake stores, which reported a modest 2.2% comp improvement. However, after reversing earlier losses to post a profit last quarter on a 14% increase in sales, the company's virtual storefront, barnesandnoble.com, only managed to report flat revenues of around $91 million.
The B. Dalton chain added another $31.5 million, though continued closures and weak same-store sales pared back revenues by more than 21%. Sales from the mall-based outlets now constitute only 3% of Barnes & Noble's total revenues, and the company seems content to let them dwindle down to nothing. That's in contrast to rival Borders
As has been the case, Barnes & Noble's first-quarter same-store sales trailed behind the much smaller Books-A-Million
While the next chapter in the Harry Potter saga will almost certainly mean a spike in bookstore traffic after its mid-July release, the heavy discounts on the novel (common for bestsellers) will keep margins in check. For example, Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection Amazon.com
Nevertheless, Barnes & Noble is banking on Harry and friends to help deliver full-year earnings of as much as $1.98, well above estimates. Still, while next quarter's results should be a real page-turner, there is a distinct danger in pinning the long-term fortunes of the company on a short-term phenomenon -- even one as powerful as Harry.
What's in store for the Hogwarts gang? Make your predictions in the Sirius Black's Muggle Friends discussion board.
Fool contributor Nathan Slaughter owns none of the companies mentioned.