Barnes & Noble says it will close up to a third of its brick-and-mortar bookstores over the next decade as reading habits change and digital publications evolve.
The chain will end up with 450 to 500 stores in 10 years, down from the 689 stores it has now, according to Mitchell Klipper, chief executive of Barnes & Noble’s retail group.
It is unknown whether the move includes the Barnes & Noble store at NorthPark Mall, Davenport. A store employee referred inquiries to the company’s corporate offices, which has not returned calls from the Quad-City Times.
The move evens out to about 20 stores shuttered yearly over the period, Klipper said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. Over the last decade, Barnes & Noble has balanced an average annual closing rate of 15 stores, with 30 openings each year through 2009.
“Of that number, some of the stores are unprofitable, while others are relocations to better properties,” spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating said of the closures.
Since then, however, the growth rate has shriveled, with the company opening just two stores this fiscal year.
In a statement, Keating said Klipper’s projections “are consistent with analysts’ expectations” and are historically consistent.
“Barnes & Noble has not adjusted its store closing plan whatsoever,” she said.
She also noted that the chain has opened two prototype stores and plans to test others this year. The New York company began selling its Nook e-readers in 2009 and also has a separate division with 674 college locations.
Rival bookseller Borders Group Inc. began liquidating all its stores nationwide in 2011, crushed by massive debt and changes in the industry. That included Borders closing its Davenport location on 53rd Street.