First the good news at Barnes & Noble: in the holiday period beginning on Black Friday and ending on New Year's Day, sales at stores open at least a year rose 4%, "the best comparable sales performance for the company in several years," B&N said. And for the nine-week period ending December 29, comp-store sales rose 1.3%.
B&N said that "our new advertising campaign and improved website contributed to the solid results, as did our buy online and pick up in store initiative. The company also increased promotional offers, which increased markdowns as well as sales."
B&N chairman Len Riggio commented: "Although we got off to a slow start, sales picked up momentum as we moved deeper into the season, and we finished strongly in accordance with our expectations. The entire organization deserves credit for our great results, especially our 23,000 local booksellers."
Now the bad news: B&N said that "due to the increased advertising expenditure and increased promotional activity, earnings guidance may be reduced by as much as 10%." Wall Street took an uncheerful view of this: yesterday, a day most averages rose, B&N stock fell 15.8%, to $6.36 a share, on more than double the usual volume.