A double-digit decline in comparable store sales and one-time charges associated with an income tax adjustment resulted in a $9.0 million net loss at Books-A-Million for the second quarter ended August 3. The net loss in last year’s second quarter was just under $900,000. Total sale fell 8.6% in the most recent period, to $109.2 million, with comp sales off 12.0%. The one-time adjustments added $7.3 million to BAM’s net loss.
Excluding the strong sales of the Hunger Games and Fifty Shades series plus sales of digital reading devices, comp store sales were down 3.8% in the quarter. The company opened four new stores in the quarter and closed two, ending the period with 255 outlets. Asked by an analyst if BAM would consider shrinking its store base, executives said they will continue on the current path which includes diversifying the business, but not, as CEO and president Terry Finley said, exiting the book business. BAM's diversification includes taking a majority ownership position in Yogurt Mountain and acquiring more commercial real estate. Within the stores, the core book business has stabilized and some new areas, like gifts and pop culture items, continue to do well, Finley said. Book categories that did well in the second period included diet & health, graphic novels, and a variety of children's categories. Finley said BAM will continue to experiment with the children's space.
For the first half of the year, BAM’s sales were $213,2 million, down from $231.8 million in the first half of 2012, and the loss increased to $12.8 million from $2.8 million. BAM gave no third quarter guidance, but Finley said the publishing roster in the quarter is stronger than in the second quarter and that BAM's expects to do exceptionally well with Killing Jesus and a new title from the Duck Commander team.