BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) ¿ Retailer Books-A-Million Inc. said Thursday it posted a smaller third-quarter loss because of sequential improvement of sales at stores open more than one year, as well as growth in bargain books.

The company posted a smaller loss of $1.6 million, or 10 cents per share. That compares with a loss of $2.2 million, or 14 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue declined less than 1 percent to $110.9 million from $111.5 million.

Sales at stores open at least a year decreased 1.9 percent, an improvement from the second quarter, the company said. These sales are an important retail metric because they measure growth at established stores.

The company said there was a stabilization in its core book business and continued growth in the bargain book and gift departments.

Also, Books-A-Million's board approved a quarterly cash dividend of 5 cents per share. The quarterly dividend will be paid on December 17 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Dec. 3.

Shares fell 11 cents to $7.44 in afternoon trading.
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