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‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ lifts Barnes & Noble Results

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Sex sells — an eternal truth that helped book seller Barnes & Noble narrow its quarterly loss due partly to demand for E.L. James’ racy book trilogy, “Fifty Shades of Grey.

The company also benefited from the closing of competitor Borders a year ago and the increased sale of digital books for its Nook e-Reader. But lower sales and prices of the Nook reader itself kept its digital revenue flat in the quarter.
Sales at the company’s brick-and-mortar stores climbed 2% to in the quarter to $1.1 billion.

The company did not break out the specifics of the “50 Shades of Grey” sales. But Mitchell Klipper, the CEO of the company’s retail unit, told analysts that “Clearly ‘Shades of Grey’ had the biggest impact in the numbers.”

The three books have sold more than 25 million copies in the United States — at Barnes & Noble and elsewhere — since their release earlier this year, according to publisher Vintage Books.

Barnes & Noble reported a net loss of $41 million in the quarter ended July 28, a 28% improvement from the net loss a year earlier. The loss was 20% smaller than the forecast from analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

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