Barnes & Noble in Duluth to remain openBook lovers can relax. The Duluth Barnes & Noble store isn’t among the approximately 200 stores that will close in the next decade, according to Amy Cianfrone of corporate communications.
By: Candace Renalls, Duluth News Tribune
Book lovers can relax.
The Barnes & Noble store in Duluth isn’t among the approximately 200 stores that will close in the next decade, according to Amy Cianfrone of corporate communications.
The Miller Hill Mall store, the chain’s only store in Northeastern Minnesota, will not be affected, she told the News Tribune.
The manager of the Duluth Barnes & Noble declined comment on the good news, saying he’s not allowed to talk to the media. The store opened in the early 1990s at the Stoneridge Shopping Center and moved to Miller Hill Mall in 2000.
The Barnes & Noble store in Duluth, Ga., wasn’t so lucky. It closed last summer after 15 years of operation when its lease was up. Concern arose about the Duluth, Minn., store after the Wall Street Journal reported recently that the chain expected to close a third of its retail stores over the next 10 years.
In 10 years the chain expects to have 450 to 500 stores, down from its January total of 689 stores, which involves closing about 20 stores a year, the Journal reported, quoting Mitchell Klipper, the Barnes & Noble retail group’s chief executive.
At its peak in 2008, the chain had 726 stores, the Journal said.
In the past decade, the chain closed 15 stores a year but had been opening 30 or more stores a year. That changed in 2009 as consumers moved in greater numbers toward digital books.
Mary Ellen Keating, a Barnes & Noble spokeswoman, took issue with the Wall Street Journal report.
“Barnes & Noble has not adjusted its store closing plan whatsoever,” she said in a prepared statement. “The Wall Street Journal article implies that our rate of store closures has changed. We have historically closed approximately 15 stores per year for the past 10 years. Of that number, some of the stores are unprofitable while others are relocations to better properties.”
She went on to say the Journal’s numbers are consistent with analysts’ expectations. She noted that the company opened two new prototype stores last year and plans to test several other prototypes in 2013.
“Barnes & Noble has great real estate in prime locations,” Keating said, “and the company’s management is fully committed to the retail concept for the long term.”