Is This the Last Chapter for Barnes & Noble?

Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS) has been the markets’ punching bag over the past couple of years, and things don’t seem to be changing anytime soon. The bookstore released its most recent quarterly results before the markets opened on Thursday, and this was met with investor trepidation.

It seems that books are going out of style, the way that this stock has traded in the past few years. Looking at this stock’s performance, shares are down roughly 64% in this time while the S&P 500 is up 39%.

The company said that it had $0.87 in earnings per share (EPS) on $1.2 billion in revenue. That compared with consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters of $0.97 in EPS on $1.21 billion in revenue, as well as the $0.96 per share and $1.3 billion posted in the same period of last year.

During the quarter, comparable store sales decreased 5.8%, primarily due to lower traffic. Comparable store sales trends did improve in January, declining only 3.5%.

Looking ahead to the 2018 fiscal year, the company expects comparable store sales to decline in the mid-single digits and consolidated EBITDA to be in a range of $140 million to $160 million. Consensus estimates call for $0.27 in EPS on $3.54 billion in revenue for the 2018 fiscal year.

In terms of its long-term strategic plans, Barnes & Noble is focused on the following four key elements:

  1. Strengthening the core business by enhancing the customer value proposition.
  2. Improving profitability through an aggressive expense management program, which will be used to fund growth initiatives.
  3. Accelerating execution through simplification.
  4. Innovating for the future, which will position the company for long-term growth.

Demos Parneros, CEO of Barnes & Noble, commented:

While we were disappointed with our holiday sales, comparable store sales trends did improve in January. We have initiated a strategic turnaround plan that is centered on growing the business and enhancing shareholder value. In the short term we are focused on stabilizing sales, improving productivity and reducing expenses. Achievement of our longer-term goals requires a significant multi-year transformation. We expect our plan to provide consistent improvement beginning in fiscal 2019 and beyond.

Shares of Barnes & Noble were down more than 4% at $4.35 early Thursday, with a consensus analyst price target of $6.00 and a 52-week range of $4.10 to $9.75.

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