Barnes & Noble To Close Third of Stores

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 28 2013 11:41 AM

Barnes & Noble Will Close 20 Stores a Year for Next Decade

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A Barnes & Noble store in Chicago

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Mitchell Klipper, CEO of Barnes & Noble's retail group, laid out his plans for the national book chain in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal that serves as the latest data point in the decline of big-box retailers. The big takeaway: Barnes & Nobles will close about 20 stores a year over the next decade, cutting roughly a third of the bookseller's bricks-and-mortar locations in the process. The Journal offers a quick recap of the fate of other major retailers of late:

Plenty of retailers have been felled by digital competition in the past decade, including Tower Records, Circuit City Stores and Barnes & Noble's former rival, Borders Group Inc. Retail consultant Doug Stephens, whose book, "The Retail Revival," is being published in the U.S. in March, predicts that mainstream booksellers eventually will "become a thing of the past."
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Barnes & Noble peaked at 726 stores in 2008. In contrast, Klipper estimates that number will fall to around 450 or 500 by around 2023. Still, he's not ready to concede defeat just yet. He told the paper that only about 20 of the chain's current 689 stores lose money. "This is what's losing money, a handful," he said. "Then you go from making money to making a lot of money." Full story here.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.