Mitchell Klipper, the top store executive at Barnes & Noble, told the Wall Street Journal that the company will close 20 stores per year for the next decade. Starting in 2003, the company has closed an average of 15 stores per year. During that time, the company also opened over 30 stores per year. In the previous fiscal year, the company shut 14 stores, but it did not open any new ones.
If the company does not open any new stores, the rate of closure will decrease the total number of stores by one-third. There are 689 retail stores and 647 college stores open right now. The company’s first store opened back in 1917 in New York City.
Compared to the holiday season in 2011, the store revenue for the 2012 holiday season decreased by 11 percent. In 2012, the company made $317 million in earnings. That was enough revenue to offset losses from the Nook, which the company spends a lot of money on new technology and advertising.
Nielsen BookScan said that over the previous five years, print book sales dropped by 22 percent across the country. There are 442 leases up for renewal by April 30, 2016, which accounts for more than half of the Barnes & Noble stores.
“Why close them if they are making money?” Klipper said. The company told Publishers Weekly that it is “fully committed to the retail concept for the long term.”