May 24, 2007, 12:00 AM

Barnes & Noble posts higher Q1 e-commerce sales

After several quarters of essentially flat sales, Barnes & Noble Inc. is reporting better numbers for the first quarter of 2007. E-commerce sales rose by 8.7% while total sales grew by 2.8%, following lower prices introduced last fall.

Barnes & Noble Inc. is reporting stronger first quarter sales, including an 8.7% increase in e-commerce sales.

In Q1, sales at BarnesandNoble.com Inc. rose to $93.8 million from $86.3 million in Q1 2006. At the same time Barnes & Noble, No. 33 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, posted a loss of $1.7 million on revenue of $1.145 billion vs. net income of $10 million on sales of $1.114 billion in the prior year.

“The first quarter of 2007 is the first non-holiday period impacted by the new, lower prices to members that we introduced last October,” says Barnes & Noble CEO Steve Riggio. “As expected, our gross margin declined due to greater discounts given to existing members and from greater usage, as the size of our member base continues to grow. The first quarter also had one of the better hardcover new release schedules in some time, which brought our comps into positive territory and helped Internet sales grow.”

In the first quarter Barnes and Noble also closed its Internet distribution center in Memphis, Tenn. All Internet orders are now fulfilled from the company’s distribution centers in Monroe, New Jersey, and Reno, Nev.

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