Barnes & Noble Lifts Outlook

The retailer narrows its loss and beats Street targets by a nickel a share in the fiscal third quarter.
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Alan Greenspan and Stephen Colbert both helped

Barnes & Noble

(BKS) - Get Report

thump Wall Street expectations for the fiscal third quarter.

The book retailer said Tuesday that, thanks in part to robust revenue from bestsellers like

The Age of Turbulence

and

I Am America (and So Can You!)

-- respectively authored by the former

Federal Reserve

chairman and the late-night talk show host/self-declared U.S. presidential candidate -- total sales climbed 5.7% year over year to a better-than-expected $1.18 billion.

On average, analysts polled by Thomson Financial were looking for revenue of $1.15 billion.

The New York-based company also reported a 2.6% same-store sales rise at retail locations vs. last year. Its online offerings, constituting just under a tenth of total revenue, delivered a 14.5% comparable-sales jump. Same-store sales generally refer to stores that have been open for more than a year.

All of the above improved B&N's bottom line, which came to a narrowed loss of $1.8 million, or 3 cents a share, excluding a one-time tax gain. That beats Street targets by a nickel a share. On a GAAP basis, the $6.2 million tax benefit pushed B&N to a quarterly profit of $4.4 million, or 7 cents a share, to reverse last year's 4-cent per-share loss.

Based on these results and cheerier top-line expectations for the fourth quarter, B&N lifted its profit outlook for the second time this year, now expecting to make between $1.91 and $2.09 a share on a GAAP basis. The last update had this range at $1.69 to $1.87 a share. Comps at retail stores are now pegged at a solid low-single-digit gain, up from the prior "flat to slightly positive" projection.

Current-quarter income, encompassing that from the fast-approaching holiday season, should range between $1.67 and $1.86 a share. Analysts are seeking $1.71 a share, excluding special items.

Shares were leaping $2.40, or 7.4%, to $35.02 in recent trading Tuesday.