Barnes & Noble's

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second-quarter earnings rose sharply from a year ago as the Harry Potter phenomenon continued to drive traffic.

The book retailer earned $13.7 million, or 20 cents a share, on sales of $1.28 billion in the latest period, up from earnings of $1.4 million, or 2 cents a share, on sales of $1.16 billion last year. The year-ago quarter had an 11-cent write-off.

Analysts had been forecasting earnings of 16 cents a share in the latest quarter.

Same-store sales at the company's flagship Barnes & Noble stores rose 5.6% in the second quarter from a year ago. They rose 0.7% at its B. Dalton chain and fell 4.7% at its 63%-owned

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GameStop

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unit. GameStop contributed $4.2 million, or 6 cents a share, to Barnes & Noble's bottom line in the quarter. Overall bookstore sales were $977.6 million and the unit earned $12.7 million, or 19 cents a share.

"Sales were strong throughout the entire second quarter," the company said in a release. "We are pleased to see that hardcover book sales are buoyant again, which is increasing traffic in our stores."

At the corporate level, Barnes & Noble expects to earn 1 cent to 7 cents a share in the third quarter. Analysts were forecasting 7 cents a share. Full-year results will be between $1.89 and $1.97 a share, compared with analysts' expectations of $1.85.

Within the bookstore unit, Barnes & Noble expects same-store sales to rise 2% to 4% in the third quarter and 1% to 2% for the full year. The unit should earn 5 cents to 9 cents a share in the third quarter and $1.66 to $1.70 in the full year.