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Bookseller posts loss, cuts forecast

November 21, 2008|Times Wire Services

Barnes & Noble Inc. reported a larger-than-expected loss for its fiscal third quarter and gave little indication that the holidays would be much brighter.

The New York-based bookseller said significantly lower customer traffic and spending at its stores drove down profit. It reduced its sales and earnings forecasts for the rest of the year, even though the holiday season is traditionally a strong time for the company.

Barnes & Noble reported a loss of $18.4 million, or 34 cents a share, in the quarter ended Nov. 1 compared with a profit of $4.4 million, or 7 cents, a year earlier. Excluding a charge to reduce the value of some store locations, the loss totaled 21 cents a share.

Revenue fell to $1.12 billion from $1.18 billion. Same-store sales, a key indicator of a retailer's health, declined 7.4%.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a loss of 16 cents a share on revenue of $1.17 billion. Analyst expectations typically exclude one-time charges.

The company said it now expected profit of $1.40 to $1.70 a share for the fourth quarter and $1.30 to $1.60 for the year. Analysts on average foresee $1.65 a share for the quarter and $1.63 for the year.

Shares of Barnes & Noble fell 81 cents, more than 6%, to $12.29.

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