Call it the curse of Harry Potter.
Shares in bookseller Barnes am Noble tumbled 12 percent Thursday after the company reported a sharp drop in quarterly earnings.
It said part of the attribute was that at exactly the same period last year, its earnings got a large boost by the launch of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. There was no similar hot seller in this year’s quarter.
The New York-based firm’s total sales dropped almost 8 percent in its fiscal second quarter that ended Oct. 28 in comparison to last year, fueling a reduction of $30.1-million. The company had a loss of $20.4-million in precisely the same quarter last year.
Its sales at established shops fell 6.3 percent, with the company attributing half of that decline to the revenue period being compared to last year’s quarter that featured the launch of the script book for the Harry Potter play of the same title. The company blamed the rest of the decrease on its non-book goods and said it would focus more on promoting novels while trimming its toy and game collections.
It also said it expects sales at shops that are established to be approximately flat for the remainder of its fiscal year.
Two weeks ago, Barnes am Noble’s shares surged after activist investor Sandell Asset Management proposed purchasing the bookseller and taking it private. Barnes am Noble said it didn’t take the offer seriously.
The company said it had a loss of 41 cents per share for the quarter. Three analysts surveyed expected an average loss of 26 cents for the quarter. In the second quarter this past year, Barnes am Noble dropped 29 cents per share.
Barnes am Noble posted earnings of $791.1-million at the period, less than the $811-million two analysts surveyed had anticipated.
Shares in Barnes amp; Noble Inc. fell 12.2 percent, to $6.85 in day trading. The corporation’s shares have dropped more than 45 percent in the previous 12 months.