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Barnes & Noble eliminates jobs after Nook holiday sales drop

Barnes & Noble Inc, the largest US bookstore chain, is cutting jobs as revenue at its Nook tablet unit continues to shrink. The shares rose 8.8 per cent.

“As we’ve aligned Nook’s cost structure with business realities, staffing levels in certain areas of our organisation have changed, leading to some job eliminations,” Mary Ellen Keating, a spokeswoman for the New York-based retailer, said in an e-mail. She declined to say how many jobs were cut and from what areas of the company.

Barnes & Noble reduced Nook prices during the holidays amid continued competition from Apple Inc.’s iPad. The company invested heavily in the business in an effort to move away from physical books. Nook sales, which include tablets, content and accessories, sank 61 per cent to US$125 million in the nine-week holiday period, the retailer said in January.

The shares climbed to US$16.06 at the close in New York and have gained 7.4 per cent this year. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has lost 2.6 per cent in 2014.

Last month, Barnes & Noble named chief financial officer Michael Huseby as chief executive officer. Tumbling sales led to the July departure of William Lynch from the post, leaving Huseby as the company’s top executive.

Business Insider earlier today reported that Barnes & Noble fired its Nook hardware engineers, citing an unnamed source. The report is incorrect, Keating said.

Separately, the New York Times reported fewer than 100 workers lost their jobs.