June 27, 2011, 3:00 PM

Nook business grows 300% for Barnes & Noble in fiscal 2011

E-commerce sales increased 50% for the retail chain.

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There’s one main reason Barnes & Noble Inc. had a big year online in fiscal 2011: Nook

For the fiscal year ended April 30, Barnes & Noble, No. 41 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, reported that sales for its Nook electronic book reader and Nook-related digital content increased 300% to about $250 million in fiscal 2011 from about $62.5 million in fiscal 2010.

“We are now selling three times as many digital books as compared to all forms of physical books on BN.com,” CEO William Lynch told Wall Street analysts on the company’s recent year-end earnings call.

During the call, Barnes and Noble also disclosed several other metrics related to its emerging digital strategy and e-commerce business, including:

  • E-commerce sales, which include the sales of Nook electronic book readers sold online and digital content, increased 49.8% to $858.1 million from $572.7 million in fiscal 2010. Based on that data, Internet Retailer calculates that BN.com registered 19% year-over-year growth in sales of merchandise other than the Nook reader and digital content.
  • Gross profit for the e-commerce business increased year over 7.6% to $75.4 million from $70.1 million.
  • Selling and administrative expenses for the e-commerce business grew 85.6% to $280.0 million in fiscal 2011 from $150.9 million in fiscal 2010.
  • Gross margin for the e-commerce business was 8.8% compared with 12.2% in fiscal 2010.

“BN.com recorded its largest annual growth rate in a decade because of Nook’s growing digital content business,” Lynch told analysts.

For the fourth quarter ended April 30:

  • E-commerce sales increased year over year 54.4% to $217.3 million from $140.7 million.
  • Gross profit for the e-commerce business increased 123.4% to $28.6 million from $12.8 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010.
  • Selling and administrative expenses for the e-commerce business grew 102.1% to $85.7 million in fiscal 2011 from $42.4 million in Q4 fiscal 2010.
  • Gross margin for the e-commerce business was 13.2% compared with 9.1% in Q4 of fiscal 2010.

“Nook is becoming a big business for Barnes & Noble,” Lynch told analysts

 

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