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Barnesandnoble.com's sales triple

Barnesandnoble.com's fourth-quarter sales more than triple, and it expects to post an operating loss in line with analysts' estimates.

    Barnesandnoble.com today said fourth-quarter sales more than tripled, and it expects to post an operating loss in line with analysts' estimates.

    Sales for the fourth quarter, ended Dec. 31, 1999, were approximately $81.5 million, a jump from $25.9 million in the same period a year ago, the New York-based online retailer said in a statement. Fiscal year 1999 sales increased to more than $200 million from sales of $61.8 million in 1998.

    Barnesandnoble.com said the company's investments in distribution, warehouse processing and technology fueled sales growth in the fourth quarter. But despite money the company has spent on certain investments, Barnesandnoble.com said it does not expect its operating loss for the quarter to exceed First Call consensus estimates.

    Analysts polled by First Call project the company to post a loss of 27 cents.

    Also during the fourth quarter, the company said it gained 1.1 million new customers, expanding its total customer base to 4 million for 1999, an increase from 1.3 million in 1998.

    The company is slated to report fourth-quarter results and fiscal 1999 results in late January.