Barnes & Noble Inc. has a plan to enliven the slumping bookstore chain: adding restaurants that serve beer and wine.
On Thursday, the company appointed Chief Operating Officer Jaime Carey to the head of a newly created restaurant group, and discussed plans to open four new concept stores with eateries attached. The idea is to build on Barnes & Nobles push into other non-book areas, such as the sale of toys, gifts and vinyl records.
Facing mounting competition from Amazon.com Inc., Barnes & Noble is seeking more creative ways to get customers in the door. The restaurant plan is part of a broader shift among brick-and-mortar retailers toward offering experiences, rather than just physical goods.
Jaimes 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 & Noble also said that same-store sales will probably range from flat to up 1 percent this fiscal year, and losses from its Nook e-reader business are shrinking. The company expects the division to post a loss of $10 million by fiscal 2018, compared with $98.6 million last year.
The outlook was cheered by investors, who sent the shares up 7.9 percent to $11.26 in New York. The stock is now up 29 percent this year.
Boire, a former Sears executive who took the helm at Barnes & Noble last year, also named Michael Ladd to the role of vice president of stores. Ladd was previously a senior vice president in charge of stores at Sears.
The four new concept stores will open in Eastchester, New York; Edina, Minnesota; Folsom, California; and Loudon, Virginia.