NEW YORK — Barnes & Noble, which operates the nation’s largest bookstore chain with 633 locations in all 50 states, continues to see sales drop at its stores.
The company reported sales of $821 million for the quarter and $3.9 billion for the full year, decreasing 6.3% and 6.5% over the prior year periods, respectively. Comparable store sales declined 6.3% for both the fourth quarter and full year. Online sales increased 2.9% for the quarter and 3.7% for the full year.
The consolidated fourth quarter net loss improved to $13.4 million, compared to a loss of $30.6 million, in the prior year. For the quarter, Retail generated an operating loss of $15.9 million, while NOOK incurred an operating loss of $7.9 million, for a total operating loss of $23.8 million.
Fiscal 2017 consolidated net earnings from continuing operations were $22.0 million, compared to net earnings from continuing operations of $14.7 million, in the prior year. For the full year, Retail generated operating income of $90.7 million, while NOOK incurred an operating loss of $36.4 million, for a total operating income of $54.3 million.
“While fiscal 2017 proved to be a challenging year for the company, we reduced costs by $137 million, enabling us to sustain our profitability level,” said Demos Parneros, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble, Inc. “In fiscal 2018, we are focusing on ways to improve the business and reignite sales through an aggressive test and learn process and companywide simplification process that will take out costs.”
For fiscal 2018, the Company expects comparable bookstore sales to decline in the low single digits and full year consolidated EBITDA to be approximately $180 million.
The company ended the fiscal year with $64.9 million of debt under its $750 million credit facility. During fiscal 2017, the Company returned $67 million in cash to its shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.