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Barnes & Noble considering new format


On a day when his company reported its fifth straight quarter of sales declines, the CEO of Barnes & Noble sounded a positive note, telling the Wall Street Journal that the retailer is looking at a new store prototype.

“The industry is evolving, and we think there are opportunities ahead with a different format, ” CEO Ronald Boire told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. “I’ve sat in on a couple of meetings about this and we’ll have more to discuss later.”

For the first quarter ended Aug. 1, the retailer reported that net sales at the company's retail division fell 1.7% to $939 million. Same store sales increased 1.1% for the quarter, benefitting from growth in non-book categories. “Core” same store bookstore sales, which exclude sales of NOOK products, increased 1% for the quarter. Net loss attributable to Barnes & Noble increased to $34.9 million, or 68 cents per share, from $28.4 million, or 56 cents per share. Revenue fell 1.5% to $1.22 billion.

“The company successfully executed its major strategic initiatives during the first quarter, including the spin-off of its College business, the conversion of the Series J preferred shares into common shares and the initiation of a quarterly dividend,” said Allen Lindstrom, Chief Financial Officer of Barnes & Noble. “As we look to the second quarter and beyond, we are focused on opportunities to increase comparable store sales and reduce expenses. The company plans to further reduce NOOK expenses through synergies with the Retail business and we expect to see those benefits during the balance of the fiscal year.”

Last month, Barnes & Noble spun off its college books unit to focus more on its retail bookstores and better integrate its Nook business. Sales at the college books division rose 5.7% in the quarter.

For fiscal year 2016, the company continues to expect same store bookstore sales, which exclude sales of NOOK products, to increase approximately 1%. The company also expects full fiscal year EBITDA losses in the NOOK segment to decline versus the prior year.

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