B&N 'fully committed to retail concept'

Barnes & Noble has said it is "fully committed to the retail concept" and has made no adjustment to its bookshop closing plan.

The US retailer has issued a statement following a Wall Street Journal report which quoted Mitchell Klipper, chief executive of Barnes & Noble's retail group, predicting that the chain could close a third of its bookshops in the next decade.

B&N said it took issue with the angle of the report, saying: “Barnes & Noble has not adjusted its store closing plan whatsoever. The Wall Street Journal article implies that our rate of store closures has changed. We have historically closed approximately 15 stores per year for the past 10 years. Of that number some of the stores are unprofitable while others are relocations to better properties. The numbers reported today by the Wall Street Journal are consistent with analysts’ expectations."

B&N added that, as well as opening two new "prototype" stores in 2012, it had plans to test "several other prototypes" in the coming year. "Barnes & Noble has great real estate in prime locations and the company’s management is fully committed to the retail concept for the long term,” the retailer said.