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Digital sales up, physical down for B&N  

Barnes & Noble has grown Nook digital content sales by 38% year-on-year in its second quarter, as the company’s e-reading business helped cushion decreasing physical book sales.

The company reported that its overall sales had decreased by 0.4% in the three months to 27th October, totalling $1.9bn (£1.2bn). Sales at the US company’s bricks and mortar shops shrank by 3% to $996m (£622m), impacted by store closures and lower website sales, but Nook e-readers, digital content and accessory revenues grew by 6% year-on-year, amounting to $160m (£100m), the company said. Sales of digital content, including e-books, digital news and apps, increased by 38%.

However, second quarter consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased 16% year-on-year to $65m, B&N said.

The company closed an investment deal by Microsoft in its second quarter, which saw Microsoft invest $300 million (£187m) for a stake in B&N’s Nook business.

Barnes & Noble recently launched in the UK through several partner retailers including Foyles and Blackwell’s and has recently released two tablet devices, the Nook and Nook HD. The company said: “We expect our two highly acclaimed new Nook products, and our Microsoft partnership on Windows 8 to further fuel the growth of our digital business, and are encouraged by the promising start to the holidays in our retail and digital businesses.”

In its College business, B&N saw sales increase by 0.4% compared to last year, with revenues of $773m (£483m), helped by further store openings.

The company added that it had seen an encouraging boost in sales from last week’s Black Friday sales promotions in the US, led by its e-reading devices. “Nook unit sales doubled over the four-day Black Friday weekend, across all channels, based on information provided by our channel partners on a sell-through basis compared to the similar period last year,” it said.