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CALIFORNIA | BRIEFLY: RETAILING

Barnes & Noble's Quarterly Loss Grows

May 20, 1999| Bloomberg News

Barnes & Noble Inc., the largest U.S. bookseller, reported a larger-than-expected fiscal first-quarter loss as its Internet unit increased spending to keep pace with No. 1 online book retailer Amazon.com. The company lost $5.9 million, or 9 cents a share, wider than its loss of $3.3 million, or 5 cents, a year ago. Analysts were expecting a loss of 5 cents. Revenue rose 9.3% to $718.3 million. The Web site, http://www.barnesandnoble.com, half-owned by German media company Bertelsmann, is spending millions in an attempt to draw customers away from Amazon.com. Amazon.com got a two-year head-start selling books on the Web, and its revenue was almost 10 times that of the Barnes & Noble site last year. Sales at Barnes & Noble superstores open at least a year rose 5.4%. Same-store sales at its B. Dalton chain of smaller bookstores were flat. The loss from the Internet business was 10 cents a share, while the company's main retail business generated earnings of 8 cents a share. The results were announced after the close of trading.

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