"We have hundreds of leases up for renewals over the next fewyears," said CFO Joseph Lombardi. "We generally have high-qualityreal estate in terms of our centers and co-tenancies. This realestate flexibility, coupled with the strength of our balance sheetoverall, will enable us to manage our business as efficiently aspossible."

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As the pool of big boxes continues to decline, the company isusing its increased leverage with landlords to negotiate favorableterms. The company has renegotiated 77 leases so far this year, and"at almost each and every one, we're paying less in the out years,"said COO Mitchell Klipper. "The leases coming up are clearly anopportunity for the company. We'll see how big it gets."

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Sales for the third quarter were $1.1 billion, a 4.4% decreasefrom the prior year. Comparable store sales decreased 7.4% for thequarter. Barnes & Noble.com sales were $109 million for thequarter, a 2% comparable sales increase compared to last year. Thethird quarter net loss was $18.4 million, which included a non-cashafter-tax impairment charge of $7 million.

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Steve Riggio, CEO, attributed at least some of the sales declineto the lack of media coverage of new books, as it focused on thepresidential election and economic crisis. With the electioncomplete, "[attention] is starting to come," Riggio said. ""We hopethings get back to where they were before."

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Still, given the sharp economic downturn and slowing traffic,the company expects fourth-quarter comparable-store sales at Barnes& Noble stores to decline 6% to 9%. As of Nov. 1, the companyoperated 728 Barnes & Noble stores and 71 B. Dalton stores.

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