Robot 6

Barnes & Noble to close one-third of retail stores over next decade

Once criticized for its role in the decline of local booksellers, retail giant Barnes & Noble is struggling in a shrinking print market that claimed longtime rival Borders less than two years ago.

The chain, which boasts 689 retail stores (along with 674 college stores), plans to cut that number by one-third over the next decade at a rate of about 20 locations year. That will leave Barnes & Noble with about 450 to 500 stores, down from a peak of 726 in 2008. In the past month or so, the company has shuttered locations in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

“It’s a good business model,” Mitchell Klipper, chief executive of Barnes & Noble’s retail group, tells The Wall Street Journal. “You have to adjust your overhead, and get smart with smart systems. Is it what it used to be when you were opening 80 stores a year and dropping stores everywhere? Probably not. It’s different. But every business evolves.”

Although saddled with continuing losses on the Nook and surprised by a 11-percent decline in holiday sales, B&N remains profitable, generating $317 million in earnings last year. But the Journal contends the next two years “will go a long way in defining the bookseller’s future,” as we’ll begin to see how the print and digital markets shake out. A further decline in print sales could accelerate the rate of store closings.

 

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Comments

4 Comments

Second paragraph, that should reference Barnes & Noble, not Borders, as having about 450 to 500 stores.

PinkPeril (@PinkPeril)

January 28, 2013 at 10:22 am

I hope that they spend a little money updating the stores they have. There’s a store in Reno, NV that is two stories, well lit, a big cafe that’s fills the whole place with the aroma of coffee and pastries. Upbeat atmosphere. I could never go in without spending $100 in books and movies. Thank god for the membership coupons!

Now to one in Las Vegas, NV. It’s an older one that’s cramped, dark, with terrible selections. The music and movie section is kind of a sad place. The cafe is tiny with four or five little tables and a lone employee who keeps disappearing into the back. I have no desire to go back. So if I am stuck ordering online, I might as well cancel my membership and order through Amazon.

Betcha it’s more. Like 3 times more. Their best chance of surviving (as a brand, if nothing else) is by shrinking down into little book nooks inside the Starbucks that are currently inside them.

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