Barnes & Noble to close hundreds of stores
The bookseller has historically closed 15 locations a year, and will continue that rate even as it tests new prototype stores.
Mitchell Klipper, chief executive of Barnes & Noble's retail group, told The Wall Street Journal that the New York chain will have 450 to 500 stores in 10 years, down from its current 689 locations. The company also owns a chain of 674 college bookstores.
The only thing surprising about this announcement was that it took Barnes & Noble this long to make it. It's hard to remember at time when Barnes & Noble wasn't struggling, and this past holiday season was no different.
During the time retailers earn most of their profit, Barnes & Noble reported an 8.2% decline in comparable store sales, a key retail metric measuring the performance of locations opened for at least a year. Sales of the company's Nook e-reader, a key part of its digital business, fell short of expectations.
Wall Street hasn't thrown in the towel on Barnes & Noble. The average 52-week price target on the stock is $17.75, about 37% higher than where it traded Monday. Microsoft (MSFT) last year agreed to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Barnes & Noble's digital business. Its road ahead, however, is not easy. (Microsoft owns and publishes moneyNOW, an MSN Money site.)
According to the Journal, Barnes & Noble expects to shutter about 20 locations a year. Until about 2009, it was opening 30 or more a year. Monday, a spokeswoman told MSN Money that Barnes & Noble has historically closed about 15 stores per year. Some of those were unprofitable while others were relocations. The company opened two prototype stores last year and will continue testing store formats this year, she added.
The new stores likely attempt to address the sea change that the book business has undergone in recent years. Amazon announced in 2011 that sales of electronic books surpassed printed editions for the first time. There's no way the book business will go back to the way things used to be.
While e-books are cheaper and more environmentally friendly because they don't sacrifice trees, shopping for them just isn't as fun as traditional books. When my 6-year-old son gets older, he probably won't believe me when I tell him of the times I spent leisurely strolling through stack after stack of freshly printed books at my local Barnes & Noble. He may laugh when I tell him that the chain sold a wide selection of caffeinated beverages to encourage people to hang out.
Things change -- but not always for the better.
--Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr
More on moneyNOW
- Twinkies will be back -- eventually
- Restaurants are banning food shutterbugs
- Not a college grad? No recovery for you
Digital books aren't for me cause there is something about smell of a good old book, or a new one too.
I have a Barnes & Noble near me , so I like to go in there and shop for a book. I can actually sit down and read a little in the store before I buy the book too. The only complaint I have about the store is sometimes I can't find the book I want, but that is a minor concern.
You know, paper is actually pretty good. No need to charge, ever...drop it by accident and it still works....works in bright sunlight...easy to share with a friend.
While I do appreciate being able to have 10 books on my Kindle for travelling, I do also love the books I have in my home. They add a character and civility to life.
Similarly, I suppose I can buy all my food prepared and frozen - but I personally prefer to have the choice of a small restaurant or making a fine meal myself.
It saddens me that I who prefer holding a book in my hands and turn its pages will in the future have to purchase them on line. i love going to the store, look for book titles I may have missed, drink a cup of coffee and enjoy the presence of those who feel as I do. I purchase many titles every year as I am an avid reader, at least 3 books each month.
Keep us reading the way we want to. Do not close our Manhattan, NY B&N locations.
Save the Barnes and Noble store in Arlington, TX. We like to read and see books outside the Big Apple, too.
Browsing in a bookstore gives us a chance to serendipitously find new, interesting books (and handle them to be sure they really are interesting) and new books by favorite authors as well. My interests, both fiction and non-fiction, are fairly broad and I can't keep up with the new books in these areas without looking at the books first-hand.
I find it a poor excuse to place blame on Amazon for the failure of B&N stores.
The fault does not lie in Amazon, but in B&N PR campaign. They put sooo very much focus on their Nooks that they neglected that they are the world's largest BOOKstore!
Personally, when I used to enter a B&N and find that I was entering into a NOOK PR statiion where books once were---- was a turnoff and I would walk right back out the door.
They hurt themselves by placing too much emphasis on their own Nooks then on their Books.
Hence the blame game prevents them from dealing with their own downfall and fixing the actual problem.
At my local store they have a Starbuck coffee bar and sometimes it is so crowded with students taking advantage of WiFi there's no room for paying customers
Books are history on the shelf. Digital books are a hard drive awaiting to CRASH AND BURN.
As we know all the recent digital movies, pictures and such continue to become obsolete in a few years.
This will be the fate of digital books.
I know this is a story about Barnes and Noble and I, too, lament the fact that we are losing so many great book stores, including the little Mom & Pop stores. There's just something about touching and smelling a new book that "hooks" a bibliophile. However, don't forget about our libraries. In recent years what with the decline of decent television I have moved to reading instead of watching TV so I go thru a LOT of books per month. Even with big box places like Costco and Sams Club, with their deeply discounted prices you can't always get what you want and they still cost a pretty penny.
I have re-discovered my local library and I'm glad I did. I have found new (to me) authors and actually I can usually find anything I need and if I can't the librarian will order it for me. Our library gives me three weeks to read what I choose and I can always renew if need be. I usually check out about 15 books at a time and I am even able to get quite a few popular titles in large print for my 84 year old mom, too. If I find a book that is particularly compelling, something I know I will want to read again and again, I can always purchase it at a book store later and know it is a book that won't "go to waste" since every book is not necessarily a winner.
Besides checking out books from the library, my library has four big used book sales every year put on by a library "friends" group. I can buy sacks and sacks of books for little money and have even found several antique and rare books at the sale. I read both hard back and paper back books and some of the books I buy are brand new with $30 price tags and I get them for $1, a really great deal!
In short, yes, it's sad that we readers are losing a very big part of our reading life. But remember your local library, I think you will be glad you did.
I am now a crazy fan of Songs of Fire and Ice, also known as The
Game of Thrones. I've seen the TV efforts of HBO, but nothing can be compared to the rich prose of these books. Perhaps they will ignite an interest in reading to an older demography as did the Harry Potter series.
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Quotes are real-time for NASDAQ, NYSE and AMEX. See delay times for other exchanges.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Thomson Reuters (click for restrictions). Real-time quotes provided by BATS Exchange. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Interactive Data Real-Time Services. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by SIX Financial Information.
It's still early for realistic estimates, but it's clear that Monday's deadly storm will be among the most expensive since Joplin's in 2011.
- Target blames weather for soggy results
- Apple's stock is slipping, but its brand value isn't
- Meet the class of 2013, the most indebted yet
- Is Abercrombie just for the 'cool kids'?
- McDonald's unveils its highest-calorie item ever
- How Samsung could save Best Buy
- Is the new Xbox Steve Jobs' dream device?
- What if corporations paid no taxes?
- Here's why a pigeon just sold for $400,000
[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 settled lower by 0.8% after early strength turned into afternoon weakness.
Today's headline event came in the form of Ben Bernanke's testimony before the Joint Economic Committee. During his remarks, Chairman Bernanke said premature tightening of monetary policy could stall the pace of recovery. This followed weeks of conflicting remarks from FOMC members, which sparked speculation regarding possible changes to the Fed's policy course.
However, ... More
More Market News
In this installment of Investor Beat: The Fed chief tells Congress that it's too soon to end the stimulus program.