Barnes & Noble to shift focus to e-commerce

Ronny Kerr · February 23, 2010 · Short URL:

Shares for the bookseller dropped 6% after reporting slacking Q3 sales

NookBarnes & Noble reports that its Q3 revenues totaled to $80.4 million, or $1.38 a share, down a considerable bit from the bookseller's profit in Q3 the previous year, $85 million, or $1.42 a share.

Sales rose 33% last year, helped in part by the acquisition of a college bookstore division, bringing the New York City-based company's total revenues to $2.17 billion.

The company is seeing the latest decline in its third quarter as a sign that it is high time to shift focus from its traditional retail model to one more centered on e-commerce, with its Nook e-reading device leading the charge.

"2009 was a year in which we set the stage for growth. We expect that 2010 will be a watershed year in Barnes & Noble's transformation from being a brick-and-mortar retailer to becoming a major e-commerce retailer," said Chief Executive Stephen Riggio on the company's quarterly conference call. "The core e-commerce business has really began to gain momentum and 2010 is going to be the year where we are fully in stock with the Nook device, and will ramp up on marketing with good displays."

While the bookseller forecasts brick-and-mortar sales to dip 3% to 5% this year, it says that Nook sales have been strong, which in turn drives online sales.

According to Barron's, the Nook has boosted Barnes & Noble online sales by 67%.

Released at the end of November 2009, the Nook, like the Apple iPad (which launches next month), are relatively latecomers to the market, which has been driven so far largely by the Amazon Kindle. Though Apple hopes that, like the iPhone, the iPad could see great success even its lateness, Riggio believes that there is room in the market for more than just one e-reader.

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