Barnes & Noble Inc
Net profit in the fourth quarter that ended January 31 was $81.2 million, or $1.46 per share, compared with $115 million, or $1.79 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding a charge of 4 cents a share tied to severance and one for 17 cents a share tied to a discontinued operation, profit was $1.67 a share, compared with $1.48 a share expected by analysts, according to Reuters Estimates.
Total sales fell 6 percent in the quarter to $1.63 billion. Sales at stores open at least a year fell 7.3 percent for the brick-and-mortar stores and were down 10.4 percent at Barnes & Noble.com.
Shoppers have been paring back on nonessential items, including books, in the downturn while online competition has pressured sales at traditional book stores.
Barnes & Noble has been cutting expenses in the challenging environment, and said it expects 2009 expenses to be flat with 2008 as a percentage of sales. In January, the company said it would cut nearly 100 jobs at its corporate headquarters in New York.
Analysts have said Barnes & Noble, which operates about 800 book stores in the United States, has been able to take market share from rival Borders Group Inc
Barnes & Noble expects a loss of 10 cents to 20 cents a share for the current first quarter and a profit of 95 cents to $1.25 a share for the full year.
Analysts expected a loss of 17 cents a share for the first quarter and profit of $1.11 a share for the year, according to Reuters Estimates.
Barnes & Noble shares were up 95 cents to $21.96 in morning New York Stock Exchange trading, while Borders fell 1 cent to 57 cents.
(Reporting by Karen Jacobs and Alexandria Sage; Editing by Derek Caney)