Book retailing giant Barnes & Noble will be closing hundreds of stores throughout the US over the next several years, according to a top store executive.
Barnes & Noble chief Mitchell Klipper told the Wall Street Journal that the bookstore chain plans to close at least 20 stores each year for the next decade. Since 2003, Barnes & Noble has closed around 15 stores a year, but has also opened more than 30 every year. During the fiscal crisis last year, the company closed 14 stores and didn’t open a single one.
Since there won’t likely be any new openings, Klipper’s planned closure rate would cut the number of Barnes & Noble stores by a third. Right now, the retail giant has 689 retail stores and 674 college stores. With Borders closed as of 2011, Barnes & Noble stands alone as the nation’s largest book retailer, notes The Huffington Post.
A big part of the problem is that print book sales are down about 22 percent nationwide due to the wide popularity of eReaders. Barnes & Noble does have a horse in this race: The Barnes & Noble Nook. However, the Nook’s sales have been less than stellar. Though the company will debut a new Nook HD next year, it is unclear what the future holds for the device.
Klipper does believe that many Barnes & Noble stores will remain open by 2016. “Why close them if they are making money?”
Despite closures, Barnes & Noble told Publishers Weekly that it is “fully committed to the retail concept for the long term.”
Would you miss Barnes & Noble if it closed in your town?