Monday, March 23, 2009

B&N Announces Fourth Quarter Results

On Thursday, Barnes & Noble held their Fourth Quarter earnings conference call.

According to the rules for reprinting excerpts from the Seeking Alpha transcripts, I’m limited to 400 words. Below are the 400 words I chose:
“. . . for the fourth quarter and full year ended January 31, 2009 . . . full year consolidated sales decreased 3% compared to last year’s 4.6% increase. Sales at Barnes & Noble stores were . . . down 2.7% over a year ago.

"Comparable stores sales declined 7.3% for the quarter . . . Store traffic was down throughout the quarter . . .

"For the full year comparable sales at Barnes & Noble stores declined 5.4% . . . Sales at BarnesAndNoble.com were . . . a 1.3% comparable decline compared to last year’s 13.4% increase.

". . . Controlling and cutting expenses where appropriate was a priority for 2008 and also for 2009 . . . What is noteworthy is how our entire store organization maintained and controlled store expenses, particularly store payroll.

". . . we ended the year with $280 million in cash and no debt.

"We plan on opening about 15 Barnes & Noble stores this year and closing approximately 10 stores. [Note: Eleven of those 15 new stores are relocations, leaving no net gain in stores].

". . . The year 2008 was by far the most challenging retail environment we’ve ever experienced. In fact, it was the first year in which our comparable store sales declined every quarter.

". . . the company’s continued focus on improving the efficiency of our supply chain allowed us to reduce inventory levels by 11% and improve inventory turns to the highest levels in our history.

"We . . . plan to return to the business of offering customers digital content inclusive of eBooks, newspapers and magazines. We have a large number of assets in place to enable us to sell digital content, our ecommerce platform is solid . . . We operate a world class in-house service center and our recent acquisition of Fictionwise has enhanced our ability to conduct digital transactions.

". . . we understand investors are anxious to hear more specifics about our plans in this arena and we do have a wide range of initiatives in development but due to the highly strategic nature of this fast evolving market, we will announce each of them as they launch.

". . . as electronic book devices and mobile platforms emerge, it’s . . . opening a new door for us, enabling us to sell lots of content that we’re not even currently offering . . . we think that this is a whole new exciting area for us and the range of content that we can sell is actually much large (sic) than that we’re currently offering within the four walls of the store or for our website.


". . . we attempted to . . . reduce the inventory where the sales were . . . most declining so obviously music is declining significantly and inventory came down there."
To read the entire transcript, please go here to Seeking Alpha.

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