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Barnes & Noble will launch a redesigned website

June 25, 2015 04:13 PM
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Barnes & Noble Inc. said it will reveal a website redesign next week with the goal of turning around declining online sales.

The bookseller’s retail sales, which include both e-commerce and in-store sales, fell 10.4% during its fiscal fourth quarter, and 4.4% in fiscal 2015. While Barnes & Noble, No. 47 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, does not break out online sales, it says declining online sales contributed to the revenue drops both during the quarter and the fiscal year.

To counteract that trend, the retailer aims to make it easier for shoppers to use BN.com, CEO Michael Huseby said today during a conference call with analysts. “We expect the website to be a valuable resource for customers, whether they choose to have their orders shipped to home or made available for in-store pickup,” he said.

Customers aren’t the only ones who should benefit from the new platform, Huseby said. “We can now take advantage of opportunities to streamline and consolidate systems and processes that are common to BN.com and Nook,” he said. “There's an opportunity to consolidate not just technology platforms, but processes and that means reduction of cost as well—not just personnel, but in terms of maintenance, hardware, software and maintenance of those types of things.”

The retailer, which bought back Microsoft Corp.’s stake in the struggling Nook business in December, says it is increasingly focused on selling e-books, rather than selling Nook e-readers.

“The benefits of Nook’s strategic shift from hardware to content-focused activities is reflected throughout our financials, including improved margins and lower expenses as content becomes the focus of the Nook sales mix,” Huseby said. “Combining Nook with our retail business will give us all of these benefits and, most importantly, the ability to provide Barnes and Noble customers any book anytime, anywhere in any format that they choose.”

At least one analyst says he believes the retailer is taking the right approach with Nook.

“The company should not see its primary aim as being a device provider but more of a provider of content,” wrote Neil Saunders, CEO of retail research agency Conlumino.

For fiscal Q4 ended May 2, Barnes & Noble reported:

  • Overall sales of $1.184 billion, down 10.4% from $1.322 billion during the same period last year.
  • Retail sales of $869.4 million, down 9.0% from $955.6 million.
  • Sales in its College division of $274.0 million, down 8.1% from $298.3 million.
  • Nook division sales dropped to $52.4 million, down 39.8% from $87.1 million.
  • A comparable-store sales drop of 1.3% in its Retail segment, which includes online.

For fiscal 2015, Barnes & Noble reported:

  • Overall sales of $6.070 billion, down 4.9% from $6.381 billion in the previous fiscal year.
  • Retail sales of $4.108 billion, down 4.4% from $4.295 billion.
  • Sales in its College division of $1.772 billion, up 1.4% from $1.748 billion.
  • Nook division sales of $263.8 million, a 47.9% decline from $505.9 million.
  • A comparable-store sales drop of 1.9% in its Retail segment, which includes online.
 

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