Barnes & Noble Shares Fall As Company Cuts 2007 Profit Forecast

Top U.S. book retailer Barnes & Noble on Monday forecast fiscal 2007 earnings well below the average Wall Street estimate, sending its shares down nearly 10%.

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The company forecast earnings of $1.65 to $1.80 a share, excluding charges for closing its Memphis distribution center.

Analysts' average forecast is $2.42 a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

The company said sales in the fourth quarter, ended in February, increased 2%, and it backed its previously issued earnings guidance for fiscal 2006.

It said fourth-quarter store sales were $1.5 billion. Sales at stores open at least a year decreased 0.1% in the quarter and 0.3% for the year.

The New York-based company said it still expects to earn between $1.86 and $1.96 a share for the fourth quarter, and between $2.20 and $2.30 a share for the year.

Analysts, on average, expect $1.89 a share for the quarter and $2.24 a share for the year, the company said.

Barnes & Noble said it would close its Internet distribution center in Memphis, Tennessee, and start sending out Web-based orders from its new Monroe, New Jersey, location.

That would result in net charges of $2.2 million, or 3 cents a share, in 2006, and $4.9 million, or 7 cents a share, in 2007, the company said.

Including those charges and legal fees, the company expects to earn between $1.49 and $1.67 a share for 2007.

A special committee is still investigating its stock option practices, and as a consequence, no expenses have yet been recorded for stock-based compensation, the company said.