NEW YORK (AP) _ Barnes & Noble Inc., the nation's largest bookseller, reported a 6.3 percent profit increase in its fourth quarter, beating Wall Street's expectations.
The New York-based company also on Thursday offered an earnings outlook for the current year that is higher than what Wall Street had expected.
Shares of Barnes & Noble rose $2.95, or almost 7 percent, to $46.17 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
For the quarter ended Jan. 28, Barnes & Noble earned $122.98 million, or $1.76 per share. That compares with $115.63 million, or $1.56 per share, in the year-ago period.
Excluding an asset impairment charge, the company said it earned $1.87 per share in the latest quarter.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had expected a profit of $1.75 per share.
Sales for the quarter rose 5 percent to $1.8 billion, higher than the $1.74 billion estimate from analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.
Sales at Barnes & Noble stores increased 6 percent to $1.4 billion. Sales at stores open at least a year, known as same-store sales, rose 3.3 percent. Sales at B. Dalton were $50.1 million for the quarter, an 18 percent decline due to store closings. Same-store sales at B. Dalton rose 3.8 percent for the quarter.
Sales at barnes&noble.com rose 1 percent to $152.6 million for the period.
For the first quarter and the full year, the company expects same-store sales at Barnes & Noble stores to increase in the low single digit percentages.
The company said its first-quarter profits are expected to be in the range of 10 cents to 14 cents per share, in line with analysts' estimate of 11 cents.
For the year, the company expects per-share results to be in the range of $2.20 to $2.30, which includes expenses of 9 cents per share related to the conversion and transition for the company's new distribution center.
Analysts expected $2.02 per share for the year.
For the year ended Jan. 28, the company earned $146.68 million, or $2.03 per share, compared with $143.38 million, or $1.93 per share, in the previous year. Sales reached $5.1 billion, up from $4.87 billion in the previous year.