updated 01:44 pm EST, Thu January 3, 2013
Nooks sell well on Black Friday, drop off
Barnes & Noble released today a report on its sales results for the nine-week holiday period ending December 29, 2012, revealing disappointing sales trends for its Nook tablet and e-reader devices. The retailer saw revenues of $1.2 billion for the period, down 10.9 percent over the prior year, due in large part to an 8.2 percent decline in store sales, as well as lower online sales and a number of store closures. The Nook segment, the centerpiece of Barnes & Noble's digital content sales strategy, saw a 12.6 percent drop in revenue compared to a year ago.
The Nook segment, which includes both Nook tablets and e-readers, saw revenues of $311 million over the nine-week holiday period. Digital content sales -- including digital books, digital newsstand, and apps -- were up 13.1 percent, but Nook device sales languished as the holiday period went on. Barnes & Noble says that the best sales came early for the device, with the Nook seeing a good start over the Black Friday period, only to fall short in the following weeks.
The retailer's report says it will be examining the "root cause of the December shortfall in sales," and that the company will "adjust our strategies accordingly going forward." The report predicts fiscal year 2013 Nook Media revenues to hit about $3 billion, with EBITDA losses for the Nook segment at a level comparable to fiscal year 2012.
The report appears to reiterate Barnes & Noble's commitment to the digital content sector, citing the three-year history the company has in the market. It notes, though, that the company's digital strategy must continue to evolve in order to scale toward profitability over time.