Barnes & Noble’s digital content sales continue to decline

September 9, 2015 04:30 PM

New fiscal year, same old story when it comes to digital content for bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc.

The retailer, No. 47 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, reported digital content sales of $37.0 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2016, down 28.8% from $52.0 million during the same time last year. The news comes two months after the retailer made two additions to its executive ranks.

In July, Barnes & Noble announced it had hired Ronald Boire as its new CEO, replacing Michael Huseby. Boire, who previously held the same position at Sears Canada, started this month.

Three weeks after announcing Boire’s hiring, the company hired Fred Argir as chief digital officer. Argir’s primary mission: Turn around the retailer’s much maligned Nook e-book business. Argir has his work cut out for him. Barnes & Noble reported sales in its Nook division of $54.3 million, down 22.4% from $70.0 million during the same time last year. Barnes & Noble does not break out online sales.

Boire told analysts on the retailer’s recent Q1 2016 earnings call that he hopes  to reverse the trend of declining digital sales thanks in part to its newly launched main e-commerce site.

“We will further integrate our stores, website and Nook businesses to create a strong omnichannel presence that gives our customers the ability to buy any book, anywhere, anytime, and in any format,” he said, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha.

“With the launch of the new website, we believe we have opportunities to further reduce Nook expenses through synergies with the retail business, and expect to see those benefits during the balance of the fiscal year,” added chief financial officer Allen Lindstrom.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2016 ended Aug. 1, Barnes & Noble reported:

  • Sales for its retail segment, which includes online sales, of $939.0 million, down 1.7% from $954.8 million during the same time last year.
  • Net revenue of $1.218 billion, down 1.5% from $1.236 billion.
  • A net loss of $34.9 million, compared to a net loss of $28.4 million.



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