Why is Barnes & Noble shutting its stores? *

Shocking news from Kevin on the closing of the Westside Pavilion location - but in a way not that surprising. The chain isn't announcing any big cutbacks, but it has roughly 100 leases due to expire this year - plus another 129 in 2012 and 121 in 2013 - and the company wasn't about to hold onto all of them. Just recently, plans were announced to close stores in Prescott, Arizona, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. Last year, the location in Encino (but not Calabasas) closed. It's kind of a stealthy drawdown. No official word on what happened at Westside Pavilion, though keep in mind that Barnes & Noble typically has long-term leases (10 and 15 years are common), and many of those are coming due. The Westside Pavilion location opened in 1995 (I believe). Hasn't the recent liquidation of Borders bumped up business? Possibly, though the one overarching problem remains: People aren't buying much in bookstores anymore. At Westside Pavilion, they might scan the selections while waiting to see a movie at the Landmark, but check out how many folks are actually coming out with purchases. That's the problem. Even its popular Nook reading device is likely to lose out to the new Kindle Fire. The company has been losing bunches of money, and its stock price is stuck at about $10 a share. Like I said, it's not that surprising they're shutting down the Westside Pavilion.

* Updated reference to Calabasas location

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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