Home » Bookstores » Barnes & Noble Stock Plunges, with Shares Selling for Less Than a Kid’s Paperback

Barnes & Noble Stock Plunges, with Shares Selling for Less Than a Kid’s Paperback

8 March 2019

From CBS:

Barnes & Noble is predicting a fraught chapter ahead, slashing its profit forecast and sending its shares down 12.5 percent. Its stock price is cheaper than the cost of a children’s paperback.

The company on Thursday reported disappointing holiday sales and forecast lower-than-expected profit for 2019. The problems began early in the holiday season, when sales dipped and customers failed to buy some of the big blockbuster books, the company said.

Shares dropped to $5.11 on Thursday, or less than the average $6.99 price for a children’s mass-market paperback. Its stock has plunged by 28 percent since the year’s start, when it traded at $7.11

The dismal holiday quarter and lower-than-expected outlook may raise questions about Barnes & Noble’s strategy as it continues to battle rival Amazon.com, as well as resurgent local booksellers. The company said its online sales fell as well, even as online sales are generally growing for most retailers. At the same time, Barnes & Noble remodeled 91 stores, but the payoffs of that investment aren’t yet clear, its executives said.

. . . .

But it’s not only books that are suffering at Barnes & Noble. The store, known for a place where readers can grab a cup of coffee while browsing the shelves, also saw “slowness” at its cafes. On top of that, sales for seasonal gifts and the tchotchkes it sells as “impulse” purchases were slow.

Link to the rest at CBS

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17 Comments to “Barnes & Noble Stock Plunges, with Shares Selling for Less Than a Kid’s Paperback”

  1. “But it’s not only books that are suffering at Barnes & Noble. The store, known for a place where readers can grab a cup of coffee while browsing the shelves, also saw “slowness” at its cafes. On top of that, sales for seasonal gifts and the tchotchkes it sells as “impulse” purchases were slow.”

    There are better places to get books/coffee/toys, so no reason to go to B&N. And people are surprised …

  2. The surprising thing to me about this earnings report is that even though it is bad, and the stock is tanking, nobody really seems to care. Normally we would see a spate of “whither, Barnes & Noble” articles following the report. Instead, it’s just a few “their stock is down” pieces on financial sites. It’s like they’re already dead.

    • Felix J. Torres

      It was expected.
      It’s like saying the sun comes out in the morning: expected, routine, changing nothing.

  3. Hey, is this great news or what? You can now buy B&N stock super cheap. Better go purchase a bunch and save some big bucks.

    And if the stock continues to tank, or if B&N goes belly up, think of the wonderful tax write-off you’ll get to file with the IRS! 🙂

  4. Terrence OBrien

    Barnes & Noble is predicting a fraught chapter ahead, slashing its profit forecast and sending its shares down 12.5 percent. Its stock price is cheaper than the cost of a children’s paperback.

    Forget about PE ratios and DITWA stuff like that. The financial world will now be reporting a firm’s health in multiples of a kids paperback.

    GM closed today at a KP multiple of 5.43.

  5. I just hope that there will be sufficient warning on the going-out-of-business sale that I’ll be able to drive the three hours to the nearest one and pillage their stock.

    • You assume there will still be stock worth pillaging.

      • Well, the shelves are pretty solidly built.

        • One thing about barnes & noble is that the shelves are about chest high on the average adult. This may be for loss prevention reasons, or to make the store feel more ‘open’, or some other reason I don’t get, but it’s unlikely any indie bookstore would want those shelves. Most bookstores try to maximize their floor space by running shelving right up to the ceiling. B&N’s store design means fewer books per square foot, and they have lots of square feet.

          • This is probably irrelevant, but librarians tell me that chest high shelves generate more circs per square foot of floor.

          • Interesting. The B&N out here has shelves that are 6′ tall, with the top shelf at about 5′ 3″ or a little higher from ground level. I’m 5′ 1″ and have to reach up to get books from the top shelf. Wonder what the difference between locations is?

    • I’ve been to several going-out-of-business sales over the years: don’t waste the gas money. The stores always jack up the price of the products, so much so that the customers are never surprised that the store is going out of business.

      “With prices like this, it’s no wonder they’re going out of business.” That’s pretty much what you hear people say.

  6. The B&N in my town is just plain filthy–the bathrooms are unspeakable, and there’s a weird smell about the place that they tried to cover up over the holidays with more fragrance than a Yankee Candle outlet. Used to like to meet friends and family there for coffee, have a browse around, etc., but it’s just too awful now. It’s like it wants to die.

  7. I haven’t been in a B&N in years. They don’t have anything I want, and if they did I could find it cheaper and easier somewhere else.

    I never got the appeal of looking at books someone has read or browsed while sitting in a cafe, eating and drinking. Books are expensive, and if I wanted something that had already been through the ringer, I’d get it at a thrift store for .50.

    When our Books-a-Million closed, I went to look for the magazines I liked to buy, but B&N didn’t have them, so that was that. No craft books, no magazines, not a coffee drinker, too poor. Bye.

  8. “Shares dropped to $5.11 on Thursday, or less than the average $6.99 price for a children’s mass-market paperback. Its stock has plunged by 28 percent since the year’s start, when it traded at $7.11”

    By golly, their math is correct. $5.11 is indeed 28 percent less than $7.11. They could also have mentioned that B&N stock is down about the price of two Thirst Busters from 7-Eleven.

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