Barnes & Noble announced last Thursday it plans to open four new concept stores featuring attached restaurants that serve a full menu, as well as beer and wine, by the end of the year. The strategy comes as the 640-location bookseller looks to revive sales growth in light of increasing competition from Amazon.
According to Bloomberg, “the idea is to build on Barnes & Noble’s push into other non-book areas, such as the sale of toys, gifts and vinyl records.”
In the wake of last week’s announcement, Barnes & Noble stock rose as much as 18%, making the retailer one of few stocks to increase in the wake of the UK’s shocking vote to leave the European Union last Friday.
The opening of the new concept stores comes at a time when many traditional retailers, including bookstores like Barnes & Noble, are struggling to compete with Amazon’s growing presence.
In light of increased competition, Barnes & Noble is experimenting with more creative approaches aimed at getting more customers through the doors. As Bloomberg explained, “the restaurant plan is part of a broader shift among brick-and-mortar retailers toward offering experiences, rather than just physical goods.”
To head its newly created restaurant division, Barnes & Noble announced Thursday they have appointed previous Chief Operating Officer, Jaime Carey, to lead the new initiative, as well as hiring previous Sears executive, Michael Ladd, to serve as its new Vice President of Stores.
“Jaime’s promotion underscores the importance of having a leader devoted to our new store concepts with a focus on an enhanced restaurant experience,” Chief Executive Officer Ron Boire said in a statement.
Barnes and Noble owns 640 bookstores nationwide and currently offers pastries, sandwiches, Starbucks coffee and Wi-Fi in its cafes.
The first concept store will open this October in Eastchester New York, shortly followed by three more locations in Edina, Minnesota; Folsom, California, and Loudon, Virginia.