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As sink Nook sales, so slumps B&N's fiscal health

Revenue in Barnes & Noble's Nook division hit $316 million, down 26 percent compared to the prior year, as the unit's losses balloon to $190.4 million.

The Nook is having some trouble.
The Nook is having some trouble.
James Martin/CNET

Barnes & Noble had a rough fiscal third quarter -- the three-month period ended January 26 -- due mainly to its ailing Nook operation.

During the period, Barnes & Noble snagged $2.2 billion in revenue, down 8.8 percent compared to the same period last year. The company's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization slumped 63 percent from $150 million last year to $55.5 million this year.

The big decline in its operation during the period was its Nook business. Revenue in its Nook division, which includes its e-reader and related services, hit $316 million, down 26 percent compared to the prior year. That division's losses widened by 130 percent from $82.8 million to $190.4 million.

Barnes & Noble has been indicating that its Nook business is in trouble for months. The company in January reported that its Nook operation "fell short of expectations" after a relatively strong Black Friday weekend.

In an attempt to improve its Nook business, Barnes & Noble and Microsoft signed a deal that made them joint owners of the Nook operation. Pearson earlier this year signed up for the joint venture with 5 percent ownership. Still, the division is in a state of flux.

Another part of Barnes & Noble that's in a state of flux is its retail business. Just yesterday, the company announced that its founder Leonard Riggio, offered up a plan to purchase all of the assets in its retail operation. In a statement today on the matter, Barnes & Noble said that it's planning to evaluate the proposal, but cautioned that there "can be no assurance" that a deal might happen.

Barnes & Noble's retail operation was another troublesome operation in the third quarter. Revenues were down 10.3 percent year-over-year to $1.5 billion. Earnings, however, jumped 7.3 percent to $212 million.

Barnes & Noble's shares are down 2.2 percent in pre-market trading following today's earnings announcement.