Barnes & Noble: Nook $1.5 billion in annual sales; 8GB tablet launches

The annual sales target comes as Barnes & Noble launched an 8GB Nook Tablet for $199. That tablet is aimed at Amazon's Kindle Fire. The Nook Color drops to $169

Barnes & Noble will lose money for fiscal 2012, and its same store sales will be sluggish, but the consolidated Nook business is expected to generate $1.5 billion in comparable revenue.

That annual sales target comes as Barnes & Noble launched an 8GB Nook Tablet for $199. That tablet is aimed at Amazon's Kindle Fire. The Nook Color drops to $169.

The company's fiscal third quarter results weren't all that surprising. Barnes & Noble on Jan. 5 said it was mulling a spinoff of its Nook unit as sales fell short.

Barnes & Noble reported third quarter earnings of $52 million, or 71 cents a share, on revenue of $2.43 billion.

As for the outlook, Barnes & Noble said that it would deliver fiscal 2012 losses between $1.10 a share and $1.40 a share. Wall Street was looking for $1.17 a share. Fiscal 2012 sales---for the year ending April 30---will be $7 billion to $7.2 billion. Wall Street was looking for fiscal 2012 revenue of $7.22 billion.

In other words, the transition to digital for Barnes & Noble isn't perfect. BN.com sales were up 32 percent in the third quarter to $420 million, and same store sales on the site were up 42 percent. Nook related sales---digital content, hardware and accessories---were up 38 percent to $542 million.

The catch? Barnes & Noble's physical sales on its online store are sliding. Its college sales fell 3 percent "due to a shift from selling new and used textbooks to lower priced textbook rentals." And retail same store sales were up 4.2 percent, a nice seasonal game, but as good as it will get (comparable sales for fiscal 2012 will be up 1 percent).

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