TORONTO — Indigo Books & Music Inc. posted higher sales in the all-important holiday quarter on the strength of its performance in non-book categories, such as toys and lifestyle gifts.

For the third quarter ended Dec. 31, Canada’s biggest book chain reported a 4.5 per cent boost in revenue to $400.3 million compared with the same period last year, a robust period when sales surged 13 per cent. Comparable store sales, an important retail bellwether, rose 3.8 per cent.

The retailer recorded net profit of $40 million, or $1.51 per share, compared with earnings of $52.8 million a year ago ($2.03 per share), a period that included a net income tax recovery of $2.1 million. Net earnings before tax were $54.4 million, compared with $50.7 million last year.

“These results show Indigo has been doing the right things to engage our customers,” said chief executive Heather Reisman, in “what was a tough season for many retailers.”

The retailer said its general merchandise business grew in the double-digits, but in the core category of books, sales remained flat against last year’s strong performance in adult colouring books.

Financial Post