Barnes & Noble Inc. (New York) reported total sales for the fourth quarter fell 6 percent, down to $1.63 billion from $1.74 billion a year earlier. Sales at stores open at least a year dropped 7.3 percent.
Chief executive Stephen Riggio says this marks the first time the company’s same-store sales slipped every quarter for a year. He adds that the 2008 fiscal year was one of most difficult years the company, as the bookseller continued to struggle against increased competition from discounters and online sellers.
Last month, the company sold its interest in Calendar Club, a provider of calendars, games, puzzles, gifts and music boxes, back to the company and its chief executive for $1 million in cash. Calendar Club added $113.5 million to Barnes & Noble's 2008 revenue.
Going forward, Barnes & Noble says it will continue to focus on tightly controlling inventory and expenses and shifting away from poor-performing products like music. It expects same-store sales to decline between 6 percent and 9 percent during the coming quarter.