Amid a strong holiday season, Barnes & Noble, Inc. reported an increase of 1.1 percent in comp sales. The result showed “the Company’s best quarterly performance in several years,” the bookseller said in an announcement.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. Chairman Len Riggio said in the earnings announcement, “In fiscal 2019, we have been focused on growing the top line, which contributed to our best holiday in years.” Riggio continued, “Sales benefitted from our new ad campaign, increased marketing and promotions, and an improved omni-channel experience for our customers. We believe these efforts are laying the foundation for sustained growth.”
At the same time, third-quarter total sales stood at $1.2 billion (flat from the prior year period). Overall, the company had a consolidated third-quarter operating profit of $79.2 million. By comparison, the company had $34.9 million in a prior year operating loss. In addition, the company reported non-recurring professional fees of $5.1 million, and asset impairment charges of $22.1 million. It also reported net earnings in the third quarter of $66.9 million or 91 cents per share, while it reported a loss of $63.5 million or 87 cents per share in the prior year.
The news comes as it was reported in October that the company planned to name a special committee tasked with reviewing bids for the long-struggling bookstore chain. The company reportedly noted that it had taken in “expressions of interest” from “multiple parties.” Riggio was said to be among those parties.
Riggio, who first founded the firm in 1965, was said at the time to own 19 percent of the company’s stock but has “committed to support and vote his shares in favor of any transaction recommended by the special committee,” per a statement from the retailer at the time. That move came as the company has found itself in a mostly losing struggle against Amazon for the last 10 years or so even with a series of additions to its traditional lineup.