June 25, 2015 / 2:23 PM / 4 years ago

Barnes & Noble reports loss again as Nook sales plunge

(Reuters) - Barnes & Noble Inc (BKS.N) reported a fall in sales for the fourth consecutive quarter as demand for the company’s Nook tablets continued to fall and customers stayed away from its brick-and-mortar bookstores.

A Barnes & Noble book store is seen in Encinitas, California March 9, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Shares of Barnes & Noble were down 3 percent at $25.55 in morning trading.

Stiff competition from online retailers such as Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and a shift toward reading e-books on devices such as Amazon’s Kindle and tablets has hurt sales at Barnes & Noble’s bookstores.

Barnes & Noble invested hundreds of millions of dollars in its own device, the Nook tablet, which it launched in 2009 to give itself a fighting chance against Amazon.

Though the Nook initially met with success, demand fell rapidly, resulting in a sales decline at the division that has lasted for more than two years.

Nook sales fell 40 percent to $52.4 million in the fourth quarter ended May 2.

To return to growth, Barnes & Noble has been prominently featuring popular books and movies, organizing group reading activities and integrating its online and retail platforms.

The company has even added gifts, toys, craft beer kits, portable turntables and a wide selection of signed books to its stores.

To focus more on its core bookstore business, Barnes & Noble in February abandoned a plan to spin off a combination of its Nook business and its profitable and fast-growing college books unit. The company said it would spin off the college books unit by August, but keep its Nook tablets and e-book business.

The company said on Thursday it expects full-year 2016 core comparable sales, which exclude sales under the Nook digital division, to grow 1 percent due to likely improvement in its physical books business.

The company’s retail core comparable store sales fell 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter.

Revenue fell 10.4 percent to $1.18 billion, in line with the average analyst estimate.

Net loss narrowed to $19.4 million, or 37 cents per share. Analysts on average had expected a loss of 39 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Reporting by Ramkumar Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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