Barnes & Noble Q4 loss widens

New York City Barnes & Noble's fiscal fourth-quarter loss widened as it invested in electronic book technology, the bookseller said Monday. The company also forecast first-quarter and full-year earnings below expectations as it plots aggressive moves into the small but fast-growing e-book market.

The loss for the three months ended May totaled $32 million, compared with a loss of $2.7 million last year.

Revenue rose 19% to $1.32 billion from $1.1 billion last year. Same-store sales fell 3.1%.

Going forward, Barnes & Noble is focusing on e-books and its e-book reader Nook to counter increased online competition and discounters.

In March, the company highlighted the importance of the electronic business by elevating the president of its website, William Lynch, to CEO. Former CEO Steve Riggio was appointed vice chairman.

Lynch helped launch the company's electronic bookstore and oversaw the introduction of the Nook.

Lynch said in a statement that only a year after the Barnes and Noble e-bookstore launched, the company's share of the digital market already exceeds its share of the retail book market.

"We are planning to redirect a significant portion of our financial resources towards investments in technology, sales and marketing," he said. "These investments will impact our bottom line in 2011, but we believe they will enable Barnes & Noble to capitalize on the significant mid- to long-term growth opportunities presented by the digital markets."

For the fiscal year, Barnes & Noble profit fell 52% to $36.7 million, from $75.9 million last year.

Revenue rose 13% to $5.81 billion from $5.12 billion.

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