Barnes & Noble Reports Surprise Drop in Comparable Sales

Barnes & Noble Inc, the largest U.S. bookstore chain, reported a surprise fall in quarterly comparable store sales, hurt by store closures, lower online sales and weak demand for its Nook tablets.

The company's shares were down 7.6% at $11.13 in extended trading on Thursday.

Stiff competition from online retailers such as Inc has hurt sales at Barnes & Noble's brick-and-mortar bookstores and demand for its Nook e-reader remains weak.

Despite bold measures to sell a variety of merchandise at its stores including toys, signed books and craft brewing kits, sales at the company's retail division fell 3.1% to $860.7 million in the quarter ended Oct. 31.

Comparable store sales, which exclude its Nook digital unit and college bookstores business, fell 0.5% in the second quarter.

Analysts on average had expected comparable retail store sales to rise 1%, according to Consensus Metrix.

Total comparable store sales fell 1%.

The company reported a net loss of $39.2 million, or 52 cents per share, in the quarter, compared with a profit of $12.3 million, or 12 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company's revenue fell 4.5% to $894.7 million. Analysts on average had expected revenue of $917.8 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

(Reporting by Ramkumar Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)