Barnes & Noble Inc., the U.S. bookstore chain working to navigate a shift to digital content, posted a smaller fiscal first-quarter loss than analysts estimated, helped by the liquidation of rival Borders Group Inc. and sales of the "Fifty Shades of Grey" series.
Tech-savvy readers snapped up the New York company's e-books and other digital content during the period, while cost-control efforts and lower expenses helped shore up its bottom line.
Barnes & Noble also benefited from riding the buzz of "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James, the publishing phenomenon that has drawn legions of readers into bookstores. The erotic novels occupy the top three spots on The New York Times' list of bestselling print and e-book fiction.
Executives at Barnes & Noble who spoke during a conference call Tuesday said the company's bookstores also benefited from sales of games, educational toys and other children's products. Management said the disappearance of competitor Borders' bookstores also provided a lift, and traffic improved in its stores for the first time in years.