January 8, 2015 Last Updated 8:08 am

Barnes & Noble reports small increase in book sales over the holidays, forces flat sales for ’15

NOOK segment sales fell 55 percent to $56 million over the nine-week holiday period, company may say more about spinoff plans at the time of its Q3 earnings report in March

The book seller Barnes & Noble reported essentially flat sales of books over the holiday season in 2014. The company said it had sales of $1.1 billion.

BN-feature7Sales, the company said, were impacted by the favorable calendar this holiday season, with Christmas and New Years falling on a Thursday. “Excluding the impact of this timing difference, total Retail sales would have declined approximately 1.6 percent from the prior year,” the company said.

“We were very pleased with our overall holiday sales results,” said Michael P. Huseby, CEO of Barnes & Noble, Inc. “Our Core comparable bookstore sales were better than our expectations, even as we cycled against the improved Core sales trends that began this period a year ago. Our Retail booksellers performed at an outstanding level for our customers this holiday season, which is reflected in our results.”

The company now forecasts that book sales at its stores will be flat for 2015.

NOOK sales, however, remain a problem.

The NOOK segment, which includes digital content, devices and accessories, had sales of $56 million during the hoildays, the company said. This means sales fell 55.4 percent compared to 2013 sales. Device and accessories sales were $28.5 million, a decrease of 67.9 percent, while digital content sales were $27.4 million, down 25.0 percent.

B&N is planning to spin off its NOOK division sometime this year. We may get more details on the plan when the company announces its third quarter earnings in March. The company recently bought out the investments of both Microsoft and Pearson which will help clear the way for the separation, and may lead eventually to the sale of one or both portions of the company. Shares of the company have risen in the past year, and the company maintains more than $200 million in net cash, according to a recent report in Barrons.

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