Barnes & Noble was down in pre-market trading this morning as it reported fiscal 2014 Q1 earnings. The company posted a drop in revenues of 8.5% to $1.3B for the quarter ended July 27. It also reported a consolidated net loss of $87M, or $1.56 per share, compared to a loss of $39.8M, or $.76 per share, in the prior year. The wider loss was driven by a decline in EBITDA, as well as higher income tax expense, it said. Also, B&N said its chairman, Leonard Riggio, has suspended his efforts to make an offer for the company’s retail business. Riggio said, “While I reserve the right to pursue an offer in the future, I believe it is in the company’s best interests to focus on the business at hand. Right now our priority should be to serve the more than 10 million customers who own NOOK devices, to concentrate on building our retail business, and to accelerate the sale of NOOK products in our stores, and in the marketplace.” On the retail side, which includes stores and BN.com, the bookseller notched $1B in revenues for a 9.9% drop. The company attributed the decline to a comparable store sales decrease of 9.1% for the quarter, store closures and lower online sales, which it said were in line with expectations. In the same period last year, B&N had an especially strong lineup that included the The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades Of Grey trilogies.
The NOOK businesses reported revenues of $153M for the quarter, a decrease of 20.2%. Device and accessories sales were $84M, down 23.1%. Digital content sales hit $69M, shaving off 15.8% compared to a year ago. Excluding the performance of Hunger Games and Fifty Shades last year, digital content sales decreased 6.9%. NOOK’s $55M in EBITDA losses were comparable to the prior year. In July, the group named Michael Huseby to the newly created position of CEO for its NOOK division after company CEO William Lynch resigned. Those changes came after the retailer reported disappointing financials for the three months that ended in April. On Monday, NOOK Media launched a suite of free apps to allow customers to watch movies and TV shows from NOOK Video instantly on mobile devices and on TV through Roku streaming players.