Barnes & Noble put out a new press release today which touted their performance over the 2014 holiday season, and about the best you can say is that the decline in sales this year wasn't as large as the decline in sales last year.
The news still isn't good, though. Sales via B&N's stores dropped 6.6% from last year. In comparison, the 2013 holiday season showed a 10% drop from 2012. The Nook division took in $125 million in content and hardware sales, which is down from 311 million reported last holiday season.
Obviously B&N's plans of closing stores and cutting staff hours until they achieve profitability is also resulting in a drop in sales quarter after quarter, but it has yet to actually accomplish the goal of making B&N profitable.
It's also pretty obvious from the decline in digital content sales that the Nook platform is dead in the water. Whether this is going to inspire B&N to sell it or simply shut it down, I cannot say. But as anyone could have told you, B&N is going to have to do something with the Nook division this year. I don't think the current plan of ignoring it to death is terribly productive, do you?
The Press release:
Barnes & Noble, Inc today reported holiday sales for the nine-week holiday period ending December 28, 2013.
The Retail segment, which consists of the Barnes & Noble bookstores and BN.com, had revenues of $1.1 billion, decreasing 6.6% over the prior year. The decrease was attributable to a 5.5% decline in comparable sales and store closures. Core comparable bookstore sales, which exclude sales of NOOK products, decreased 0.2% as compared to the prior year.
The NOOK segment (including digital content, devices and accessories), had revenues of $125 million for the nine-week holiday period, decreasing 60.5% as compared to a year ago. Device and accessories sales were $88.7 million for the holiday period, a decrease of 66.7% from a year ago, due to lower unit selling volume and lower average selling prices. Digital content sales were $36.5 million for the holiday period, a decline of 27.3% compared to a year ago due to lower device unit sales and lower average selling prices.
P.S. On a related note, this press release has convinced me that Apple now has a larger share of the ebook market than B&N. Apple might possibly be doing $500 million to $1 billion a year in ebook sales, and we can clearly see B&N is selling less than that.