Barnes and Noble to Close Stores: Report

Number of bookstores to shrink gradually over next 10 years

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The book store chain Barnes and Noble plans to close as many as a third of its retail stores over the next decade according to a published report.

    The article in Monday’s Wall Street Journal said the book chain has 689 retail stores as well as a separate chain of 674 college stores.

    The company expects to close approximately 20 stores a year, bringing the total number of retail outlets to the 450 to 500 stores, Mitchell Klipper, chief executive of Barnes & Noble's retail group was quoted as saying in the WSJ article.

    Three weeks ago, the company reported a drop in holiday sales over the previous year. Bookstores, BN.com earned $1.2 billion for the nine-week holiday period, down 10.9% over the previous year.

    Even sales of the NOOK device had dropped 12.6% over the previous year due to “lower unit volume and average selling prices” according to a company statement.

    The company did see a 13.1% increase in digital content sales including books, newsstand and apps.

    "NOOK device sales got off to a good start over the Black Friday period, but then fell short of expectations for the balance of holiday,” said William Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble, Inc. in the written release. “We are examining the root cause of the December shortfall in sales, and will adjust our strategies accordingly going forward."

    Currently, there are 13 Barnes and Noble stores in San Diego County from Eastlake in Chula Vista to the El Camino Shopping Center in Oceanside.

    In a statement to NBC News, Barnes & Noble spokesperson Mary Ellen Keating denied the company was adjusting any growth plans as suggested in the WSJ article.

    "Barnes & Noble has not adjusted its store closing plan whatsoever. The Wall Street Journal article today implies that our rate of store closures has changed. We have historically closed approximately 15 stores per year for the last 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 Barnes & Noble opened two new prototype stores in 2012 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."