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Barnes & Noble to close 20 stores per year for the next decade

Barnes & Noble will be shutting a significant number of stores in coming years, which some falsely analyze as a failure or as the potential cause of dead malls, but that is not the case.

barnes & noble

barnes & noble

Barnes & Noble closing many of their doors

Rather than go the route of some of their competitors, Barnes & Noble is clearly seeing the digital writing on the wall and plans to shut down 20 of their retail stores every year for the next decade, winding down their physical presence in an era where even libraries are experimenting with going 100 percent digital.

Barnes & Noble saw an 11 percent dip in sales this holiday season compared to 2011, so some analyze that it is the catalyst, but these types of decision take quite some time to formulate and announce and has likely been in the works for the last year as a means of the company staying afloat and pivoting in these changing times.

The company has 689 brick and mortar stores currently in operation, with the final total sitting at just under 500 retail fronts by the end of the decade, which while it is a reduction, is still a significant retail presence, likely keeping it as a common anchor store in cities across the nation.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a company spokesperson noted that less than 3.0 percent of their stores lose money. Shifting resources away from retail could signal a company focus on their devices like the Nook HD and Nook HD+.

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What Barnes & Noble’s store reduction really means

Some will hear the news that stores are closing and recall the ghost towns that resulted from the recession, or dead malls or shopping centers wherein an anchor store leaves and the remaining small stores dwindle away until the center is abandoned.

Images of crack pipes abound when these concepts are tossed around, but we’re here to give you a reality check – dumping some of their retail stores is smart, and very likely being done in areas that are already declining anyhow, even dying shopping centers. It is unlikely that the retail reduction will have a massive impact, as most will remain standing, but shedding the extra weight is smart, especially as the world transitions to digital, and won’t likely cause dead malls or crack houses, and will likely only peeve the regular clients, many of whom are really there for the Starbucks anyhow. It’s good business, and a move they have likely been working on for some time, as many other retails consider similar moves.

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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