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New store prototype may be in works for ailing Barnes & Noble


New York -- Barnes & Noble on Wednesday reported its fifth straight quarter of sales declines. But the CEO 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.”

Barnes & Noble reported a net loss of $34.87 million for its first quarter, ended Aug. 1, up from $28.45 million the same period a year earlier and larger than Wall Street estimates. Increases in costs of sales and occupancy, as well as in selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses, contributed to the growing loss.

Sales at the company's retail division fell 1.7% to $939 million.

Same-store sales increased 1.1% for the quarter, benefiting from growth in non-book categories.

“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, CFO 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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