B&N Reported a 9% Decline in Revenue Over the Holiday Season

There’s a lot of drinking going on at B&N HQ this week, after the report they just released:

Barnes & Noble today reported that comparable store sales decreased 9.1% for the nine-week holiday period ending December 31, 2016. Online sales increased approximately 2% for the holiday period.

The sales decrease was largely due to lower traffic, as well as the decline in coloring books and artist supplies – a reversal of last year’s phenomenon – and the comparison to last year’s best-selling album by Adele – the largest selling CD in our history – which combined accounted for approximately one third of the sales decline.

In spite of the holiday sales shortfall, the Company is still expected to exceed last year’s operating profit owing to strong expense management.

“Although books outperformed the company as a whole, we were not pleased with our results,” said Len Riggio, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble, Inc. “Fortunately, post-holiday traffic and sales have improved and we are optimistic for the remainder of the fiscal year, and we believe this most unusual retail season may be behind us.”

In comparison, revenues rose by a couple percent last holiday season.

B&N took a hit from the election, which depressed retail sales in the period leading up to 8 November, but most of the holiday sales period (over seven weeks) fell after the election, when rebounding sales should have made up for the slowdown.

While that is the case with Amazon (or so they say), clearly B&N did not benefit from the rebound.

image by Random Retail

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Amazon’s sales statement tell us nothing about how books or ebooks performed in the period.

  2. Maria (BearMountainBooks)6 January, 2017

    It is interesting to note that four retailers have come in with lower sale over sales numbers for the holidays: Macy’s, Penny’s, Sears (no surprise there) and Kohls. Macy’s and Kohls have bucked downturn trends in the past. So B&N having a drop isn’t too surprising, but so far the seasonal reporting has not been good from anyone (waiting on Amazon and Best Buy, my two picks for meeting or beating.)

  3. […] bookselling news may be bleak for Barnes & Noble but things are looking up for […]


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