Bookstore Holiday Sales Lag Behind Overall Retail Picture

With the holidays behind us, and customers redeeming their gift cards, big-box bookstores are taking stock of how they fared, compared with the overall positive holiday retail sales picture. For Barnes & Noble (BKS), the holiday period was not a happy one. The store reported in yesterday's release that store sales of $1.1 billion for the nine weeks between November 1 and January 2, a 5% decrease over that period a year ago, with comparable store sales decreasing 5.4%. The news prompted B&N to lower its guidance on earnings for the full quarter from $1.30 to $1.50 a share to $1.20 to $1.40 a share.