Barnes & Noble reported its results for the quarter ended October 31 after the close on Thursday, and the results were mixed, with some positive trends but higher losses and declining sales for the quarter.  Perhaps the most surprising revelation was the news from new CEO Ronald Boire (via the earnings call transcript from Seeking Alpha) that the company was slowing its pace of store closings, shuttering ten stores in 2015 instead of the planned 13, as a result of "improving bookstore trends."  Back in early 2013, then CEO Mitchell Klipper said that the company would close 1/3 of its stores over the next ten years (see "B&N Confirms Plans to Close Stores"), so the reductions in planned store closings, which began last year, are an important sign that brick and mortar is still going to be the future of the retailer for a long time to come.

Boire also revealed that the company is reviewing prototypes for new store formats.

A bright spot in the merchandise mix was the Toys and Games category, which was up 14.9% year over year.  B&N has not only been expanding its games footprint in its stores, we’ve noticed the toy selection expanding as well, as the photos from last July accompanying this article show.

Sales overall were down 3.1% due to lower online sales, store closures, and a 1% comp store sales decline.  Without the 31.9% decline in Nook sales, comp store sales would have been down .5%.  The lower online sales were due to a troublesome implementation of the company’s new website.  Nook content sales were also a drain on comparables, due primarily to lower device sales.

Early trends for the holiday season were good, with the company reporting comp store sales increases (excluding Nook) of 1.1% in November through Black Friday weekend.

Earnings swung to a $.53 loss per share from a $.12 profit per share in the year ago period.  $.17 of the loss per share was from the college store division, which has been spun off.  The company reported $17 million in just two costs of the transaction, $10 million in executive compensation costs and $7 million in investment banking fees.

Click on the gallery below for some of B&N’s summer toy displays.