barnes & noble

Will Barnes & Noble Hold On? That’s A Tough Read


New Prototype Store Opening But Nothing Planned Yet For Rockland County

Do we need an “endangered list” for retailers?

Although Barnes & Noble has managed to hang on as the country’s largest remaining book retailer, Amazon’s domination of the book market has been detrimental to the chain’s profits for years. Aside from 10 new prototype stores, Barnes & Noble has been shutting down bricks-and-mortar locations amid flat or declining sales and less in-store foot traffic.

As we watch Amazon’s plan to wipe out the book retailer for good, we’ll see if Barnes & Noble can hang on for another year. Rockland County has a Barnes & Noble at Rockland Plaza in Nanuet and in the Palisades Center. The company has not revealed the fate of these stores.

The chain had a rough year in 2018 but its CEO believes it has turned a corner. The slow deterioration of Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) continued through the company’s fiscal 2018. The bookseller saw sales drop to $3.7 billion, down 6% from 2017. Barnes & Noble saw its same-store sales fall in 2018.

Reports of company-wide layoffs tend to sound alarm bells for industry-watchers, but the book retailer’s leadership insists that Barnes & Noble is headed in the right direction.

“Fiscal 2018 proved to be a challenging year for Barnes & Noble as retail dynamics continue to present headwinds for our business,” CEO Demos Parneros said in the 2018 Q4 earnings call. “That said, the actions we’ve undertaken regarding our strategic turnaround plan have laid the groundwork for the future, and we are beginning to see modest improvement in some areas.”

Since 2008, Barnes & Noble has closed about 175 of its 800 stores.

Following years of closing stores across the country, the bookseller in March opened its 10th “prototype” bookstore in Detroit, Michigan bookstore in 13 years. The retailer is banking on a smaller footprint, a new format, more diverse merchandise, and a facelift to bring back customers.

The 14,000-square-foot store at the Village of Rochester Hills shopping center is just over half the size of a traditional Barnes & Noble store and features a brighter interior with more cover-out book displays, lower bookshelves and plenty of non-book merchandise such as vinyl records, notebooks, board games, bottled water and Lego sets.

Staff will roam with checkout tablets, letting customers make purchases without the need to wait in the cash register line.

There is more dedicated shelf space for books on local history and local sports teams as well as more communal seating around the store’s Starbucks cafe.

Children can spend time at a Legos table and in the “story time” area.

For Barnes & Noble, the store’s modest real estate footprint could offer a less expensive way to lure customers away from rival internet websites such as and back to making impulse purchases inside physical bookstores.