SECOND QUARTER RESULTS
Total sales for the second quarter were $1.9 billion, including sales of Barnes & Noble College Booksellers (“College”) of $798 million. Excluding College, total sales increased 1% over the prior year period. Comparable sales at Barnes & Noble.com increased 59% driven by increases in core products and sales of digital devices and digital content. Barnes & Noble comparable store sales decreased by 3.3% and College’s comparable store sales decreased by 1.5%.
The expansion of the Toys & Games department at Barnes & Noble stores produced a 42% sales increase for the department during the second quarter. In the third quarter, the company began testing additional concepts, including an expanded children’s offering and digital and electronics accessories, to drive further sales increases in 2011.
For the second quarter, the company reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $46 million. The consolidated second quarter net loss was $12.6 million, or $0.22 per share, in-line with previously issued guidance of earnings of $0.05 per share to a loss of $0.25 per share.
As previously announced, the company continued to invest heavily in digital initiatives including: software and cloud services development costs; expenses relating to NOOKcolor; the addition of hundreds of thousands of titles to its digital catalog including a subscription management platform for digital newspapers and magazines; creating interactive proprietary content for children’s books; developing applications to serve multiple reading and smartphone devices – including iPad®, iPhone®, Android™ and BlackBerry®; and the rollout of NOOK Boutiques in Barnes & Noble retail stores.
The additional investments are expected to continue and peak during the second half of the year, and then increase moderately in the years ahead. Payoff for these expenses is estimated to begin to appear in the third quarter, when NOOKcolor is expected to be one of the world’s most sought after eReaders, and in the third and fourth quarters, when NOOKcolor owners will begin downloading digital content, including books and magazines.
BARNES & NOBLE LAUNCHES NOOKcolor
At the end of the second quarter, Barnes & Noble launched NOOKcolor, the first Reader’s Tablet that enables customers to purchase interactive digital content on a full color touch screen. Concurrent with the introduction of NOOKcolor the company introduced NOOKnewsstand™ and NOOKkids™, enabling customers to access periodicals, magazines, and interactive children’s books. Additional device features include web browsing, the ability to listen to music and much more.
NOOKcolor has received widespread critical acclaim from many technology publications, including the Wall Street Journal, which called the product “a winner.” Orders for NOOKcolor significantly exceeded the company’s expectations, and since going on sale on November 16, 2010, it has become the single bestselling product at Barnes & Noble.
“Since launching our eBookstore in the second half of last year, Barnes & Noble has quickly captured approximately 20% of the exploding eBook market. We have plans to grow our share well beyond 20%, and the early success of NOOKcolor is encouraging,” said William Lynch, chief executive officer of Barnes & Noble, Inc. “Selling digital content is becoming a big business for us that we expect to grow at exciting rates. Based upon the double-digit comparable store sales achieved over the past weekend, we are further convinced that eReaders and accessories will be a key holiday gift item and driver of holiday sales this year, leading to accelerating eContent sales in the quarters and years ahead. We’re continuing to invest in this opportunity to build the most expansive catalog of digital content available for sale, the best reading software on the market, and devices that deliver the most innovative digital reading experiences.”