Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More Signs of the Bad Book Economy

Wall Street Journal article: Barnes & Noble Braces for 'Terrible' Season
(Comparable store sales decline for first time in company's history)


Barnes & Noble is "bracing for a terrible holiday season" and expects "the trend to continue well into 2009, and perhaps beyond," B&N's chairman wrote in an internal memo to employees.

"Never in all of the years I've been in business have I seen a worse outlook for the economy," Leonard Riggio continued. "And never in all my years as a bookseller have I seen a retail climate as poor as the one we are in. Nothing even close."

He said, too, that B&N has suffered from this financial and credit crisis, "albeit not as severely as most retailers, and certainly not as much as other booksellers." Sales at stores open at least a year had fallen recently for the first time in B&N's history.Riggio predicted that "the decline in retail traffic will affect our business as less people will pass our doors, and competition for the remaining business will become more intense. The result will be a 'Darwinian' environment (only the fittest will survive), and the retail species will have to adapt or face extinction."

Book and magazine publisher Rodale announced it is eliminating 111 positons, about 10% of its workforce. Most of the cuts are in the IT, operations and customer service departments, although some are being made in the publishing units. About 8 positions will be cut from the book group.

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