Despite the success of the company’s e-reader, the Nook, Barnes & Noble has been struggling to compete with the Internet with its brick-and-mortar stores for a while now, as have other retailers with physical locations. Another sign of perhaps eventual total doom? The CEO of B&N’s retail group says the company will be slowly shuttering about a third of its current physical stores over the next 10 years.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mitchell Klipper says things are gradually getting slimmed down in its retail world.
“In 10 years we’ll have 450 to 500 stores,” he said, which will be a decrease from the 689 brick-and-mortar stores it currently has. There’s also a chain of 674 college stores which are separate.
He still insists that B&N is doing just fine with its retail locations, calling the plan “a good business model.” Even though sometimes physical locations don’t price-match the store’s own BN.com website, which kinda turns the entire store into a showroom that drives customers elsewhere. Ahem.
“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,” Klipper said.
Anyone else feel the ghostly presence of Borders looming just behind your shoulder? Gives us the willies.
UPDATE: A Barnes & Noble spokeswoman issued the following statement in regards to WSJ‘s article, saying this is not an unusual move for the company:
“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.”
B&N Aims To Whittle Its Stores For Years [Wall Street Journal]