NEW YORK (AP) — Barnes & Noble said Tuesday that its fiscal fourth-quarter loss narrowed as the company continues to invest in its Nook e-reader business and adjust to the evolving book business.
Facing tough competition from online retailers and discount stores, the largest traditional U.S. book retailer has invested heavily in the Nook e-reader and e-books.
Barnes & Noble broke out sales of its Nook e-reader for the first time, the most transparent it has been about the division to date. They show that the division is a work in progress.
Nook sales fell 11 percent to $164 million during the quarter as the company took back its Nook Simple Touch e-reader from retailers to make room for new inventory. But for the fiscal year, Nook sales rose 34 percent to $933 million.
"We grew our business in 2012 while continuing to make the necessary investments for the future of the business," said CEO William Lynch.
In a call with investors, Lynch said he estimates Nook is maintaining a 25 percent to 30 percent share in the total digital content business. Its chief rivals are Amazon.com's Kindle and Apple Inc.'s iPad.
The company also said it plans international expansion for the Nook, currently only available in the U.S. It plans to be in several undisclosed international markets by the holidays.
Barnes & Noble said its net loss totaled $57.6 million or $1.08 per share, for the three months ended April 28. That's smaller than its loss of $59.4 million, or $1.04 per share, a year ago. A tax charge hurt results by 10 cents per share. It had 1 percent more shares outstanding in the latest quarter than a year ago.
Analysts expected a smaller loss of 92 cents per share, according to FactSet.
Revenue was nearly flat at $1.38 billion. Analysts expected higher revenue of $1.48 billion.
Its shares fell 61 cents, or 4 percent, to close at $14.63 Tuesday. They are down about 44 percent from their 52-week high of $26 in late April. They traded as low as $9.35 in January.
Retail revenue, which includes online revenue, rose 0.5 percent to $1.05 billion. Revenue from college bookstores rose 6 percent to $228 million.
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