Login

Barnes & Noble plans to cut up to a third of stores over the next decade (update)

Barnes and Noble Retail Watermarked

Following a rough fourth quarter that saw shrinking Nook sales, Barnes & Noble has revealed that it plans to close up to 20 stores a year over the next decade, The Wall Street Journal reports. The plan would cull up to a third of the bookseller's retail stores, which Barnes & Noble executive Mitchell Klipper says will bring the total down to 450 to 500 stores — the WSJ notes that the chain currently has about 689 retail stores in operation. The plan to close stores reflects the company's strategy to compete with Apple and Amazon in hardware — it's easier to move devices across a lower volume of stores — but Barnes & Noble still views its brick and mortar operation favorably; Klipper tells the WSJ that less than 3 percent of Barnes & Noble stores lose money, and asks "why close them if they are making money?" The move, then, suggests that Barnes & Noble sees more of its stores losing money in the coming years, leaving the flagging Nook to pick up the potential slack.

Update: A Barnes & Noble spokesperson has offered a statement to The Verge regarding the WSJ's report:

Barnes & Noble has not adjusted its store closing plan whatsoever. The Wall Street Journal article implies that our rate of store closures has changed. We have historically closed approximately 15 stores per year for the past 10 years. Of that number some of the stores are unprofitable while others are relocations to better properties. The numbers reported today by the Wall Street Journal are consistent with analysts’ expectations. It should be noted that in 2012, Barnes & Noble opened two new prototype stores and in 2013 plans to test several other prototypes, as well. Barnes & Noble has great real estate in prime locations and the Company’s management is fully committed to the retail concept for the long term.

While the company says its store closures may be happening at the same rate as in prior years, that obviously isn't the full story: the WSJ noted in its report that "the chain shut an average of 15 stores a year in the past decade, but until 2009 it also was opening 30 or more a year."

The Verge
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new Verge username and password

As part of the new Verge launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to Verge going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new Verge username and password

As part of the new Verge launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to Verge going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.
Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.