Page last updated at 16:22 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 17:22 UK

Barnes & Noble makes smaller loss

Barnes & Noble shopfront

Barnes & Noble posts a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss of $2.1m (£1.4m) due to stronger sales, better margins and cost controls.

The world's biggest bookseller upped its full-year earnings guidance and said it expected its year sales drop to be smaller than previously forecast.

Total first quarter sales were down 4% at $1.1bn, with store sales down 3.5% at $989m, compared to a year earlier.

Online sales at Barnes & were 7% lower at $93m.

"Based on the company's better-than-expected performance during the first quarter, the company is raising its full-year earnings per share guidance range to $1.10-$1.40, from $0.95 to $1.25," Barnes & Noble said in a statement.

The firm said its best-sellers over the first quarter included 'Prayers for Sale' by Sandra Dallas, 'Dog on It' by Spencer Quinn, and 'Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,' by Steve Harvey.

Major booksellers such as Barnes & Noble and its bricks-and-mortar rival Borders are struggling to entice shoppers in the face of the economic downturn and stiff competition from online rivals such as

Shares in Barnes & Noble, which said it would pay a 25 cents per share quarterly dividend, gained 4.5% to $24.97.

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