Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) will add 300 college and university-based stores nationwide in a move to increase revenue amid sluggish sales at its traditional bookstores and a shrinking Nook digital unit.
Barnes & Noble already operates 696 shops and plans to have about 1,000 locations within five years. The college stores accounted for about 25 percent of Barnes & Noble's total revenue last year and have already overtaken the standalone retail stores in number.
Max Roberts, CEO of the company's college business shared the news at an event at Rutgers University's Barnes & Noble bookstore in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Roberts said that retail skills and ability to offer large-scale textbook rental programs are a growing part of college retail. These operations generate higher sales per store and benefit schools, which get a percentage of sales.
The Barnes & Noble bookstores on college campuses have grown to include more than just textbooks, and serve as general consumer bookstores offering college students a one-stop shop with items like toiletries, snacks and apparel.
Going forward, Barnes & Noble plans to expand its on-campus assortment even further, especially as students move toward downloading digital books and reading materials. The retailer said it wants to offer amenities like bigger cafes, a larger selection of clothing and, in some stores, Clinique cosmetics counters.
Barnes & Noble has struggled as consumers increasingly turn to cheaper e-books and Amazon's aggressively discounted book prices. The Nook division can't keep up with Apple's iPad or Amazon's Kindle, and reported a 32 percent year-over-year decline during the most recent quarter. In light of these troubles, Barnes & Noble said that it was reducing the size of its Nook segment staff.
-See this Bloomberg article
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