Barnes & Noble key sales figure edges up helped by stabilizing physical book sales

IndustriesAssociated Press

Barnes & Noble Inc. said Thursday that a key sales measure rose 1.7 percent during the holiday season as sales of physical books continued to stabilize.

The news sent shares rising 4.6 percent in premarket trading. It was a positive sign for Barnes & Noble, which has long struggled against tough competition from discount stores and retailers.

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Sales at its retail segment, which consists of the Barnes & Noble bookstores and BN.com, were nearly flat at $1.1 billion.

The company said sales benefited from the continued stabilization of physical book sales and improvements in its educational toys and games and gifts departments.

Excluding a longer nine-week holiday period, which ended on Jan. 3 this year compared with Dec. 28 last year, retail sales would have fallen 1.6 percent from last year.

Barnes & Noble will report third-quarter results in early March.