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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 Barnes & Noble, Inc. 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!)

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-- 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.