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Barnes & Noble Boosts Earnings Forecasts

February 23, 2001|Times Wire Services

Barnes & Noble Inc., the nation's largest bookseller, said robust sales at its superstores will help it post better-than-forecast earnings for the just-completed fiscal year and current year. The company said the current year's results will also be helped by demand for video games with the arrival of new consoles and by narrowed losses at Barnesandnoble.com. Profit on a consolidated basis, including its losses at Barnesandnoble.com Inc. and other investments, should reach $1.06 a share for the year that ended Feb. 3, and $1.71 a share for fiscal 2001, the company said. Analysts had estimated earnings at $1.02 and $1.61, respectively, according to First Call/Thomson Financial. Barnes & Noble said sales at superstores open at least one year, known as same-store sales, rose 4.9% for the last 53-week period. Same-store sales, an indicator of a retailer's strength, were up about 2.1% for the fourth quarter, it said. Sales at the video-game chain Babbage's rose about 37% for the period, but same-store sales fell 6.7%. The B. Dalton chain's sales declined 12.6%, with same-store sales off 1.7%. The company said it will open 40 to 45 superstores this year and close about 40 mall-based B. Dalton stores. The company expects to release results for 2002 on March 22. Shares of New York-based Barnes & Noble closed up 57 cents at $24.96 on the NYSE. Barnesandnoble.com was unchanged at $1.53 on Nasdaq.

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