Big box bookstores don't see a happy ending ahead for holiday sales

Retailers in general aren't expecting to do boffo business on Black Friday, but big box bookstores Barnes & Noble (BKS) and Borders (BGP) might be excused for their more intense states of anxiety. Both companies issued quarterly reports Tuesday morning, and based on earnings and sales, both have good reason to be nervous that the holidays won't deliver for them.

Barnes & Noble reported that store sales for its fiscal second quarter, which ended Oct. 31, fell 2% to $950 million, with same store sales falling 3.2%. The total net loss for the quarter was $24 million (or 43 cents a share), broken down to 30 cents of operating loss and 13 cents attributed to re-acquiring shares in its B&N College Division in late September. (The college division is credited with only $65 million in sales, but the data only includes the one-month post-acquisition period.)