Long Live Barnes & Noble – Sales Were Flat in the Third Fiscal Quarter

Barnes & Noble bucked pessimistic predictions today when it announced its fiscal third quarter revenue report. Sales were essentially flat in the 2018 holiday season when compared to the previous year.

B&N’s revenues totaled $1.2 billion, down $423,000, while net earnings were $66.9 million compared to a net loss of $63.5 million in the same quarter last year. Sales at stores open at least a year rose 1.1%.

That is far better than I expected; I thought we’d be reading about B&N’s bankruptcy filings today.

Edit: B&N’s digital revenues were still atrocious; they fell 20% last quarter, to $24.3 million from $30.9 million.

press release:

B&N today reported sales and earnings for its fiscal 2019 third quarter ended January 26, 2019.

Total sales for the third quarter were $1.2 billion, flat with the prior year period. Comparable store sales increased 1.1%, reflecting the Company’s best quarterly performance in several years.

The consolidated third quarter operating profit was $79.2 million, as compared to the prior year operating loss of $34.9 million. Third quarter results include asset impairment charges of $22.1 million, and non-recurring professional fees of $5.1 million. The prior year quarter included asset impairment charges of $135.4 million, and severance charges of $10.7 million. Excluding these charges, third quarter adjusted EBITDA was $133.0 million, as compared to $139.5 million last year. Adjusted EBITDA decreased $6.5 million due to the increased marketing and promotional spend.

Consolidated third quarter net earnings were $66.9 million, or $0.91 per share, as compared to a loss of $63.5 million, or $0.87 per share, in the prior year. Excluding the charges noted above, adjusted third quarter EPS was $1.21 in the current year.

“In fiscal 2019, we have been focused on growing the top line, which contributed to our best holiday in years,” said Len Riggio, Chairman of Barnes & Noble, Inc. “Sales benefitted from our new ad campaign, increased marketing and promotions, and an improved omni-channel experience for our customers. We believe these efforts are laying the foundation for sustained growth.”


The Company expects fiscal 2019 EBITDA to be in a range of $140 million to $155 million, excluding unusual or non-recurring items. This outlook includes the impact of incremental investments the company is making in its business, as well as lower than expected post-holiday sales.

image by Tony Webster via Flickr

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. DaveMich7 March, 2019

    Well, with the current socio-political climate, a B&N bankruptcy would be a huge PR negative for Amazon. This is probably good news for Jeff.

  2. gbm7 March, 2019

    B&N have let me know that they no longer want to do business with me.


    1. Ed Bear7 March, 2019

      They did that years ago when they bought Fictionwise and treated eBook lovers such as myself as just so much inconvenient trash. They had essentially NO realistic way to go through your library and the search function worked not.

      1. Nate Hoffelder7 March, 2019

        Killing Fictionwise was B&N’s first and biggest mistake. They should have turned it into the int’l Nook Store and built it into a real competitor to Kindle.

        1. DaveMich7 March, 2019

          Fictionwise still exists as a zombie website.

          Did they always require sideloading? Because when the kindle offered 3g/wireless delivery along with the bookstore right on the device, that would have been a kick in the nuts.

          1. Nate Hoffelder7 March, 2019

            I liked buying from Fictionwise long after the Kindle Store opened. They had better deals, and they sold the easily crackable MSReader format.

    1. Nate Hoffelder8 March, 2019

      I think B&N shot itself in the foot when it initially made a rosy but vague prediction. Everyone was expecting a better report, and were disappointed when their expectations weren’t met.

      Keeping sales almost at the same level isn’t bad; it is a sign of what could be a turnaround.

      1. Disgusting Dude8 March, 2019

        Or PR spin and accounting tricks like shifting expenses from one quarter to the next by not ordering supplies until the day after the books close.


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