Barnes and Noble has not had an easy go of it. The brick-and-mortar stalwart has seen its revenues and profits steeply decline as we’ve entered the age of the e-book. In fact, profits haven’t just shrunk; they’ve disappeared. During the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2013, the company suffered a net loss of $118.6 million, down significantly from the already poor showing it posted in 2012 when it lost $56.9 million in Q4. For the year, that put Barnes and Noble’s losses at $154.8 million — more than double what it lost in 2012. Revenues have dropped both at retail outlets and its Nook digital business by $105 million and $56 million, respectively year-over-year. For its e-reader and ebook arm, that represents a 34 percent drop from Q4 2012. The bad news there is that device sales have declined dramatically and, while content sales were up for the year, in the fourth quarter they fell by 8.9 percent. Barnes and Noble attributes the year-over-year fall in sales to be attributed to the lack of blockbuster titles. In Q4 2012 revenues were boosted by juggernauts like Fifty Shades of Grey and The Hunger Games.
Going forward Barnes and Noble wants to significantly cut its losses on the struggling Nook business. To do that the company will be partnering with an as yet unnamed third party to manufacture and co-brand its tablet line. The Nook line of e-readers will continue to be designed and built in-house, but the retailer will be looking beyond its Manhattan office walls for help with the flailing Nook HD line. Existing products will be supported for the foreseeable future, however, so don’t go tossing your Robert Brunner-designed slate in the trash just yet. If you’d like more detail, check out the PR after the break.
Filed under: Tablets