B&N to Renovate Empty Stores

From Shelf Awareness:

At Barnes & Noble, most of its 627 stores are closed to the public “and it seems likely that the few that remain open may shortly be required also to close,” CEO James Daunt wrote in a letter to employees on Friday afternoon. “We will offer BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) via curbside pick-up where this is permitted, as is presently the case for most stores. This service is helping a dramatic increase in sales through BN.com. Notwithstanding this success, our revenues have declined in an unprecedented manner.”

As a result, as B&N has closed stores, the company has laid off staff with less than six months of employment and furloughed most of the rest, keeping only “a core of booksellers to service BOPIS.” The company has also furloughed more than 260 employees in the home office. Daunt called it “a brutal process and something that we hope will be of the shortest possible duration.”

The “small silver lining to this calamity,” Daunt continued, is that B&N is using the period to renovate most of its stores, a project “we had otherwise intended to work through over the next 18 months to two years.” This includes moving bookcases and furniture and “improving visually our stores with better fixtures.” In addition, teams of booksellers are being brought back to “work through all our book categories. We aim, to the best of our abilities, to direct an appropriate allocation of space and the best possible backlist assortment. This is an exercise in bookselling curation that is very long overdue and which we hope will improve dramatically the quality of our bookstores.”

Link to the rest at Shelf Awareness

PG thinks this is an excellent idea, one of the first Barnes & Noble has had in a very long time.

PG expect many of those who enjoy going to a physical bookstore will do so after the Coronavirus period ends. For them to find an intelligently refurbished Barnes & Noble would prove very attractive.

Will this move save Barnes & Noble? PG declines to venture out on that thin limb.

Lots of people are buying lots of products from Amazon at the moment, including ebooks they can download instantly. Some percentage will stick with ebooks, to the exclusion of printed books into the future.

PG doubts the Nook Store can/will be brought up to Amazon standards.