Loss widens at Barnes & Noble
NEW YORK — Barnes & Noble Inc.’s fiscal fourth-quarter loss widened as it invested in electronic book technology, the bookseller said yesterday.
The New York company also forecast first-quarter and full-year earnings below expectations as it plots aggressive moves into the small but fast-growing e-book market.
The loss for the three months ended May totaled $32 million, or 58 cents per share. That compares with a loss of $2.7 million, or 5 cents per share, last year.
The loss totaled 89 cents per share excluding a tax benefit of 25 cents per share and a benefit related to inventory of 7 cents per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, on average, predicted a loss of 81 cents per share. Analyst estimates typically exclude one-time items.
Revenue rose 19 percent to $1.32 billion from $1.1 billion last year. Analysts expected revenue of $1.28 billion.
Revenue in stores open at least one year fell 3.1 percent, in line with company guidance of a 2 percent to 4 percent drop. Revenue at stores open at least a year is a key indicator of a retailer’s performance because it excludes growth at stores that open or close during the year.
Barnes & Noble is focusing on e-books and its e-book reader Nook to counter increased online competition and discounters.
Barnes & Noble last week cut the price on its original Nook electronic reader to $199 from $259 and introduced a new Nook Wi-Fi for $149. Amazon.com responded by cutting its price on the Kindle e-book reader to $189.
In March, the company highlighted the importance of the electronic business by elevating the president of its website, William Lynch, to chief executive in a surprise move.
Lynch helped launch the company’s electronic bookstore and oversaw the introduction of the Nook.
Lynch said in a statement that only a year after the Barnes and Noble e-bookstore launched, the company’s share of the digital market already exceeds its share of the retail book market.
For the fiscal year, Barnes & Noble profit fell 52 percent to $36.7 million, or 63 cents per share, from $75.9 million, or $1.29 per share last year.
Revenue rose 13 percent to $5.81 billion from $5.12 billion.
The company expects a first-quarter loss between 85 cents and $1.15 per share on revenue growth of 30 percent to 50 percent. Analysts expect a loss of 44 cents per share.