Report: B&N to Open 30 Stores in 2023

Barnes & Noble plans to open 30 stores in 2023 and over the past year opened more stores than it closed, according to the Wall Street Journal, which said the company has "experienced robust customer demand coming out of the pandemic as all booksellers benefited from people turning to books while stuck at home."

B&N CEO James Daunt told the newspaper that the company also benefited from changes made to its stores during the pandemic, adding, "We've now got both the profitability and the confidence to start opening up stores again."

The Journal noted that B&N has about 600 stores now, after peaking at 726 in 2008. As the company has emphasized, the new and renovated stores are usually smaller in size than their predecessors. Referring to a new B&N in Riverhead, N.Y., that has full-height bookshelves arranged in a layout that the Journal called "more analogous to an independent bookstore 'maze' than the supermarket-style layout of the chain's standard big-box locations," Daunt said, "It creates a completely different browsing experience."

This contrasts, he said, with the old B&N approach of opening "big stores that were crammed with books and staffed with the cheapest labor possible," the Journal said. Daunt commented: "It was running really bad bookstores that were dull, unengaging and dispirited. If you do that, your sales go down by a lot and you end up having to close stores."

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