Barnes & Noble warned that its same store sales declined 9.1% for the nine-week holiday season ended December 31.  The company attributed the decline to lower traffic, a decline in sales of coloring books and art supplies, and the comparison to last year’s release of Adele’s new album, the best selling CD in chain history.  Those factors accounted for about one third of the sales decline, the company said.

The company updated its forecast for the year ending April 31, lowering its profit projection to the lower end of the previously forecasted range, and its same store sales projection to a 6% decline.

The company has been having a tough year, with CEO Leonard Riggio describing the retail environment in early September as "one of the worst I have ever experienced in the 50 years I have been in this industry" (see "B&N Sees Terrible Retail Environment").

In its most recent quarter (ended October 29), the company reported a 3.2% decline in same store sales (see "B&N Bases Weak Sales on Election").

Barnes & Noble is not the only major U.S. retail chain that had trouble during the 2016 holiday season; Macy’s announced that it was closing 68 stores and cutting 10,000 jobs after reporting a 2.1% decline in same store sales for the holiday season.

Riggio said that very recent trends had been positive.  "Fortunately, post-holiday traffic and sales have improved and we are optimistic for the remainder of the fiscal year, and we believe this most unusual retail season may be behind us," he said.