May 28, 2008, 12:00 AM reports Q1 web sales rose 7.2%

E-commerce sales for rose 7.2% in the first quarter of fiscal 2008. Comparable store sales did not fare nearly as well, however, declining 1.5% while total sales grew by 1%.

Barnes & Noble Inc. reported e-commerce sales of $99.6 million for the fiscal first quarter ended May 3, 2008. Sales at, No. 38 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, were up 7.2%, or $6.7 million, compared with about $92.9 million in the prior year quarter.

The web outdistanced comparable store sales for the period, which declined 1.5%, a result the company called “marginally below guidance for slightly negative comparable store sales.” Overall Barnes & Noble total sales in Q1 increased by about 1% to $1.15 billion from $1.14 billion.

During the first quarter Barnes & Noble reached an agreement in principle with the State of California to settle a long-standing dispute regarding the collection of sales and use taxes on sales made by from 1999 to 2005. As a result, the company recorded a one-time pre-tax charge of approximately $8.3 million. Including the one-time charge, the company’s first quarter net loss was $2.2 million.

Based on lower than expected first quarter sales results and the overall retail sales environment, the company is lowering its full-year comparable store sales guidance at Barnes & Noble stores from slightly positive to slightly negative.

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