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Barnes & Noble Wants to Clear ‘Tchotchke’ Clutter, Sell More Books

30 November 2017

From The Wall Street Journal:

Barnes & Noble is on a mission to declutter its stores of gifts and games and make room for what it sees as its next big moneymaker—books.

“There’s too much stuff in the stores,” said Barnes & Noble Inc. Chief Executive Demos Parneros, in an interview after the company’s earnings call. “We’re drawing a line in the sand and reducing the assortment of gift items and what I’d call tchotchkes. For example, we love journals. But we have way too many. We’re refocusing on books.”

. . . .

Mr. Parneros described the decision to refocus on books as a “definite shift in strategy” prompted by what he said were disappointing sales results over the past 10 quarters. Barnes & Noble entered the educational toys and games sector aggressively in 2010, when digital books were growing fast, and later broadened its gift selection.

That gift merchandise will remain, said Mr. Parneros, but there will be less of it, partly in response to customers who said they wanted to see more books.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal

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13 Comments to “Barnes & Noble Wants to Clear ‘Tchotchke’ Clutter, Sell More Books”

  1. Mr. Parneros described the decision to refocus on books as a “definite shift in strategy” prompted by what he said were disappointing sales results over the past 10 quarters.

    I think the decision focus on more tchotchkes was a definite shift in strategy prompted by disappointing sales in prior quarters.

  2. I can’t help wondering if there’s any connection between the fact that they can stock books at minimal risk–free to return them in any condition for a full refund–vs. having to actually pay for the tchotchkes.

    • A big part of this loss was because they sold a whole lot of non-book merchandise at a discount, because it didn’t sell and, as you say, you can’t send that stuff back.

      The thing that struck me here was that not that long ago, non-book merchandise was the next big thing because it had better margins that books. Now they are pivoting – again.

  3. A bookstore that actually has books for sale? What a concept! 🙂

  4. I am glad that there is no election to get in the way of selling books.

    http://fortune.com/2016/09/09/retailers-elections-sales/

    • No, this time there’s no election they can blame poor sales on … 😉

    • Uh-huh.
      It’s notable that year after year the declines in tradpub sales get waved off by referring to the previous year’s biggest seller being bigger than anything in the current cycle.

      As if the previous year were an outlier and the current year were perfectly fine except in comparison.

  5. Too little too late for most of their former customers. Far too often they didn’t have the book you were looking for – and trying to order a book was a pain (and took far too long.)

    Most of us have gone online because we could find what we were looking for and it was faster and easier (and far too often cheaper.)

    They’re going to have to do something to make us think that they’re worth visiting and I myself can’t think of a reason that great (well, I do miss the old Radio Shack – before they started selling phones – back when you could actually buy all the parts needed for most projects, but there aren’t enough people interested in doing that to keep the stores open.)

  6. Mr. Parneros described the decision to refocus on books as a “definite shift in strategy” prompted by what he said were disappointing sales results over the past 10 quarters

    Except where they’re opening restaurants, apparently.

    Barnes & Noble looks to woo readers — and diners — in Ashburn – Site does seem to have a “soft” paywall of three free articles per month.

    From the slide show in the article it looks like somewhere from a quarter to a third of their floor space is taken up by the kitchen, the bakery or the seating, though that is a bit hard to judge perfectly.

  7. Ha ha ha!

    I swear I used the word “tchotchke” in my comment on another post before I saw this post!

  8. “Tchotchke” is one of my favorite words.

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