Barnes & Noble reported its Q4 and full year results for the period ending January 31st today, and the company was profitable despite substantial sales declines.  CEO Steve Riggio laid it out.  “While 2008 proved to be the most challenging year that the company and the industry have ever experienced, we are proud of our financial results in light of the macro retail environment,” he said. 


Net earnings were $81.2 million for the quarter and $75.9 million for the year (after a couple of Q4 charges) despite an over-all sales decline of 6% for the quarter and 3% for the full year.  Sales were $5.1 billion for the year. 


Inventories were reduced by 11%, certainly no surprise to the publishers who were seeing the returns and order reductions that those inventory cuts represented. 


The company is forecasting a 6% to 9% reduction in Q1 sales, and a 4% to 6% reduction in full year sales for its Barnes & Noble stores this year.