How badly do Barnes & Noble investors want the retailer to ditch its struggling Nook tablet and e-reader business? The company’s shares shot up 7.6% today, with heavy volume, after Business Insider reported that it laid off the unit’s hardware engineers. The company says that it didn’t fire the entire staff, but acknowledges that jobs have been eliminated across the organization. “We’re not going to comment specifically on those eliminations,” B&N says. “We believe we have a strong management team in place at Nook, having recruited significant new talent. The new Nook management team is focused on managing the business efficiently so that it becomes financially strong while at the same time aggressively moving to drive revenue growth.” Last month B&N reported that Nook revenues – which include digital content, devices and accessories — fell 60.5% to $125M in the nine-week holiday sales period that ended on December 28. Devices and accessories fell 66.7% to $88.7M which the company attributed to “lower unit selling volume and lower average selling prices.” Digital content fell 27.3% to $36.5M “due to lower device unit sales and lower average selling prices.” CEO Michael Huseby notes that B&N had no new tablets this holiday season, a tough comparison with 2012 when it had two.
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