It was just three years ago that Barnes & Noble announced that it planned to close about one-third of the 689 stores that it had at the time by 2023. Things have apparently changed in the book business since then, because the bookstore chain announced today that it will open four new stores and close eight by the end of the year.
The chain currently has 640 stores, indicating that the company is doing better than it projected back in 2013. While its online business is down somewhat, same-store sales are improving across the chain. Overall sales from their physical stores fell slightly in the last year, but good same-store figures indicate that business is up overall in the stores that are staying open.
The real problem for Barnes & Noble is its Nook e-readers: the electronic book machines and color tablets continue to lose money, but not as much money as they did in the past. Sales of devices, accessories, and content fell by a third in the last quarter. One plan to send more customer traffic over to the Nook store is to unite the online store app and Nook content app for smartphones,
Barnes & Noble To Open New Stores In Next Fiscal Year [Wall Street Journal]