When Barnes & Noble reported poor holiday sales last month, with abysmal Nook revenue, I’m sure pretty much everyone knew it was going to get worse. And now it has.
B&N has put out a press release with the news that they expect Nook revenues for fiscal year 2012 (ends April 2013) to be down from revenues in 2011. They also have downgraded the estimated Nook revenues for fiscal year 2013. We don’t have specific numbers yet; that won’t be released until 28 February 2013:
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (BKS), the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today announced the company will report fiscal 2013 third quarter earnings results on Thursday, February 28th, before the market opens.
Based on current forecasts, the Company now expects its fiscal year 2013 NOOK segment EBITDA loss to be greater than it was in fiscal 2012 and expects fiscal year 2013 NOOK Media revenues to be less than $3 billion.
Yes, B&N pushed the release date for their quarterly filing back 9 days. You can probably expect B&N to use the extra time to convince publishers to prop up B&N by buying parts of Nook Media, just like Pearson did in late December 2012.
But even though we don’t know the numbers yet I think we can take a wild guess. Barnes & Noble’s FY2011 included a holiday season with disappointing Nook Touch sales, followed shortly by a pair of BOGO sales on Ebay (buy a Nook Color, get a Nook Touch), and then a poor 4th quarter.
We already know that B&N had a bad Christmas in 2012, a marginal first quarter (no increase in revenue), and a passable second quarter (slight increase in sales). And now B&N is reporting that they don’t expect their digital sales or hardware sales to improve this year or the next.
Would you believe that when I wrote in June 2012 that B&N should take the Nook out back and shoot it I was trying to be flippant, not prophetic? I really thought B&N would turn it around.
Anyone want to take bets on whether B&N will still be around this time next year (and not filing for bankruptcy protection)?
Given that they’ve damaged consumer confidence by announcing plans to shrink over the next 10 years, and that the current management are the capable folks who went to a consumer electronics tradeshow and forgot to bring the gadgetry, and that there is no one in sight to rescue the company, I would say not too bloody likely.