Barnes & Noble Inc. said Tuesday its fiscal third-quarter profit rose to $72.2 million, or 93 cents a share, from $63.2 million, or 86 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Sales fell to $1.96 billion from $2 billion a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by FactSet were looking for profit of $1.48 a share on sales of $1.9 billion. It wasn't clear if there were any one-time items analysts' consensus might have excluded. Barnes & Noble said same-store sales dipped 0.3%, hurt by Nook sales. Excluding that, its core comparable sales rose 1.7%. Comparable college bookstore sales fell 1.4% in the quarter. Nook sales tumbled 51%. Barnes & Noble forecast retail sales to drop in the low single digits for the year, with core comparable sales expected to be flat. It also sees flat comparable sales for its college bookstores. Barnes & Noble shares fell 1.5% in premarket trading.
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