U.S. bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc reported lower quarterly profit on Tuesday as sales at its stores dropped sharply, and the company's outlook fell short of Wall Street expectations.

Barnes & Noble shares were down 4.7 percent in premarket trading from a closing price of $21.51 on Monday.

The largest U.S. bricks-and-mortar bookseller reported a profit of $80.4 million, or $1.38 cents per share, for the third quarter that ended January 30, compared with a profit of $85 million, or $1.42 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue totaled $2.17 billion.

Analyst had forecast $1.34 per share on revenue of $2.16 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

It was the bookseller's first full reporting quarter to reflect its acquisition last year of Barnes & Noble College Booksellers and the launch in October of its Nook e-reader.

Sales at its book stores open at least a year fell 5.5 percent, while sales at its website rose 32 percent to $210 million.

The New York company said it expects same-store sales at its Barnes & Noble bookstores to fall by 3 percent to 5 percent in fiscal 2010, while those at College Bookstore will range from a drop of 1 percent to a rise of 1 percent.

It forecast a loss of 85 cents to $1.15 a share in the fourth quarter, and fiscal 2010 earnings of 23 cents to 53 cents a share.

Analysts were expecting a loss of 61 cents a share for the fourth quarter.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba; editing by John Wallace)