February 24, 2011, 5:09 PM

E-commerce drives Q3 growth for Barnes & Noble

The web accounted for 89.3%—$150 million—of all growth in the latest quarter.

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Electronic reader and digital book sales helped Barnes & Noble Inc. put up some much higher e-commerce numbers in the third quarter.

For the third quarter of fiscal 2011 ended Jan. 29, Barnes & Noble, No. 42 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, achieved:

  • An increase in web sales of 64% to $343.5 million from $209.5 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2010.
  • Total sales grew 6.9% to $2.32 billion from $2.17 billion in the third quarter of fiscal 2010.
  • Comparable-store sales increased 7.3%.
  • Net income dropped year over year 24.6% to $60.6 million from $80.4 million.

Internet Retailer calculates the web accounted for 14.8% of total sales in Q3 compared with 9.7% in the prior year. More important the web accounted for 89.3% of the total growth of $150 million in the latest quarter.

Barnes & Noble does not break out sales numbers for Nook, its electronic book reader, or digital content. But new versions of Nook were a big sales driver, says CEO William Lynch. “In the digital area, our electronic content business continues to scale quickly such that we now sell twice as many e-books as we do physical books at BN.com,” says Lynch. “The third quarter was another big quarter for the company from the standpoint of key strategic progress that positions us well for the future.”

 For the first nine months the retailer reported:

  • An increase in web sales of 53.9% to $664.9 million from $432 million in the first three quarters of fiscal 2010.
  • Total sales grew 25.2% to $5.62 billion from $4.49 billion in the first three quarter of fiscal 2010.
  • Net loss was $14.5 million compared with net income of $68.7 million in the first three quarters of 2010.

Internet Retailer calculates the web accounted for 11.8% of total sales in the first three quarters compared with 9.6% in the prior year.

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