August 30, 2011, 4:21 PM

Barnes & Noble books strong Q1 e-commerce sales

The Nook e-reader product line accounted for 20% of sales in the quarter.

Lead Photo

The Nook is driving sales for Barnes & Noble.

The web and Nook e-reader products sales carried Barnes & Noble Inc. in the first quarter of fiscal 2012.

For the quarter ended July 30, Barnes & Noble reported:

  • Online sales of $198.0 million, up by 36.8% from $144.7 million in the prior year quarter.
  • Total sales for the first quarter were $1.42 billion, up by about 2.2% from $1.39 billion.
  • Barnes & Noble store sales of $1 billion, a decrease of about 2.9% from $1.03 billion.
  • Comparable-store sales declined 1.6%.
  • College book store sales of $219.8 million, down by about 2.2% from $224.8 million.
  • The Nook business across all company segments, including sales of digital content, device hardware and related accessories, increased 140% in the first quarter to $277 million from an Internet Retailer estimate of $115.5 million in the prior year.
  • For the first quarter, the company reported a net loss of $56.6 million compared with a net loss of $62.5 million in the first quarter of 2011.

Internet Retailer calculates the web accounted for 13.9% of total sales in the quarter compared with 10.4% in Q1 of 2011. Internet Retailer also calculates Nook sales accounted for 20% of total Q1 revenue.

The web sales increase was attributed to strong demand for the Nook product line, including the Nook Color, the mid-quarter launch of the Nook Simple Touch Reader and a quadrupling of digital content sales over last year’s first quarter. Barnes & Noble did not break out total digital content sales.

“We plan to continue investing in the significant growth areas of our business, and in fiscal 2012 we expect to see leverage as our digital sales growth is projected to exceed the growth of investment spend,” says William Lynch CEO of Barnes & Noble, No. 41 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. “Additionally, the return on investment is expected to increase in future years, as readers purchase increasing amounts of digital content on the platform we have built.”

Earlier this month Liberty Media, which owns and operates QVC Corp., No. 8 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, announced it will invest about $204million in Barnes & Noble by purchasing about 12 million shares of common stock at $17 per share. That will give Liberty Media 16.6% of the common stock of Barnes & Noble.

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