Barnes & Noble shares tumble to new lows amid retail apocalypse

FAN Editor

Barnes & Noble’s shares plunged to new lows on Friday after the struggling retailer reported a major drop in sales for the holiday season.

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The New York-based company, which is best known for selling books, said same-store sales fell more than 6% to $953 million in its most recent fiscal quarter. Barnes & Noble’s digital business was an area of particular weakness, as sales dropped 4.5% even as more customers turn to e-commerce operations like Amazon to do their shopping.

Barnes & Noble’s stock fell as much as 17% after the subpar report and was trading down roughly 15% at $5.55 per share as of Friday afternoon. Shares fell to their lowest level since the mid-1990s, according to Barron’s.

Many traditional retailers are contending with declining foot traffic in stores amid the e-commerce boom. Digital-first companies like Amazon are producing record sales figures even as brick-and-mortar giants like Macy’s and J.C. Penney close store locations and lay off employees.

Retail bankruptcies hit a six-year high in 2017 and are expected to occur at a high rate again this year.

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Barnes & Noble executives have touted a reorganization plan that includes a sharper focus on the digital and mobile shopping experience, as well as smaller, streamlined stores that will focus on successful product segments while shifting away from underperforming offerings.

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Activist investors have proposed taking Barnes & Noble private or selling the company amid stiff competition in the retail space, according to multiple reports. However, no deal has materialized yet.

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