January 7, 2016 Last Updated 8:56 am

Barnes & Noble says same store sales up 1.6% this holiday season

Total revenue fell, however, due to closed stores, and NOOK sales lost a quarter of their revenue in the November to December holiday season

The department story chain Macy’s reported dismal sales this holiday season, with store sales falling 5.2 percent in November and December. It was not helped with the condensed holiday calendar this year. As a result, Macy’s said it would cut 4,800 jobs across its Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores. (It also blamed warm weather for its poor results. I believe it is their terrible offerings, but that’s my opinion.)

“I think Macy’s is likely to be a canary in a coal mine,” Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics, told NPR.

Nook-new-300We’ll see soon enough as retailers begin to report their earnings for Q4 of 2015. Apple, for instance, reports on January 26 and everyone will be anxious to see if iPhone sales really did fall in comparison to the prior year.

Amazon reports on February 4th, and though they do not break out their sales figures, overall revenue will be enough to see if the holiday season was a good one for the online retailer.

Their brick and mortar competitor, Barnes & Noble, does not report until March, but it said today that sales for the holiday season for encouraging. The company said “core comparable store sales” increased 1.6 percent.

But that is not the whole story, of course, as the company has closed stores. So, as the company admitted, overall sales were down 0.8 percent. That was not bad, however, all things considered.

Then there is NOOK. Sales were a miserable $41 million for the holiday period, down 25 percent, with digital content sales at $21 million.

Look for next year’s report on holiday sales to concentrate on toys and other items as B&N’s new CEO, Ronald D. Boire, looks to transform the company into a retail outlet with more product lines.

Here is B&N’s announcement regarding holiday sales:

NEW YORK, NY – January 7, 2016 — Barnes & Noble, Inc. today reported sales for the nine-week holiday period ending January 2, 2016. Core comparable store sales, which exclude NOOK products, increased 1.6%, marking the second consecutive holiday increase.

“We are pleased with the performance of our bookstores during the holiday period, with core comparable store sales increasing 1.6% on top of a 1.7% increase a year ago,” said Ron Boire, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble, Inc. “We were also encouraged by the improved performance of BN.com during December, as the site remained stable and traffic improved through the holiday period. As we look ahead, we see further opportunities to improve the experience and increase conversion on BN.com.”

Retail sales, which include Barnes & Noble stores and BN.com, were $1.1 billion, decreasing 0.8% due to lower online sales and store closures. Comparable store sales, including NOOK products, increased 0.6% for the holiday period.

NOOK sales of $41.2 million decreased 25.8%. Digital content sales were $21.3 million and device and accessory sales were $19.9 million for the holiday period.

Based on the holiday sales results, the Company continues to expect fiscal 2016 core comparable store sales to increase approximately 1%, and comparable store sales to be approximately flat. The Company also continues to expect full fiscal year EBITDA losses in the NOOK segment to decline versus the prior year.

Barnes & Noble, Inc. will report third quarter results on or about March 3, 2016.

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