Barnes and Noble Overall Holiday Sales Down 10.9%, But Digital Content Sales Increase 13.1%

Posted on January 3, 2013

Barnes and Noble announced today that sales were down for the holiday season this year. The retail segment of the business, which consists of and Barnes and Nobles bookstores had revenues of $1.2 billion, which is a decreased of 10.9% from last year. The company attributed the decrease to an 8.2% decline in comparable store sales, a lower level of online sales and bookstore closures. When the Nook numbers are broken out, store sales were down 3.1% from last year, due to lower traffic in the bookstores.

Nook sales were down, as well. The selling price was lower and they moved fewer units than expected. The company's digital business, which includes the Nook, digital content and accessories for the Nook, generated $311 million during the holiday period of nine weeks. That figure is down 12.6% from last year. Nook sales are down, but digital content sales are actually up 13.1%. That seems to indicate that there is a saturation point with ereaders, while the market for new digital content is actually growing over time.

William Lynch, the CEO of Barnes & Noble, had this to say about the disappointing results: "We entered the holiday with two great new products, Nook HD and Nook HD+, both highly rated media tablets of phenomenal quality. Nook device sales got off to a good start over the Black Friday period, but then fell short of expectations for the balance of holiday. We are examining the root cause of the December shortfall in sales, and will adjust our strategies accordingly going forward."

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