James Daunt has hailed a rise in sales at American bookseller Barnes & Noble following changes he introduced after being appointed as its c.e.o. in 2019.
In an interview with Publishers Weekly, Daunt, who credited his staff for the results, said total B&N sales are up about 5% to 6% so far this year compared to 2019, with book sales up by double digits. Although the coronavirus pandemic has continued to hurt the chain's café and newsstand results, other core areas such as educational games, puzzles, and workbooks, have done well. Urban areas such as New York City are having the hardest time recovering from the pandemic.
Daunt, also the m.d. of Waterstones, told the magazine that all B&N stores have undergone at least one round of refurbishing, and rents are down. Under his leadership, store managers have also been given more control over what they sell, and how they sell it in store, echoing his strategy at Waterstones.
He said resupplying stores was a "central focus" with investment in distribution centres and making its internal supply chain more efficient. Reducing the number of returns was another priority.
Since Daunt took over the struggling chain in 2019, B&N has opened six new stores. He told PW he expects to open eight more over the next month but will continue to close underperforming outlets. However, he expects to finish the year with about the same number of locations, around 625 stores, as B&N had at the start of the year, and to open new branches "in decent numbers" in 2022.
- Why the Barnes & Noble sale may help US publishers buy better books
- Trade figures welcome Barnes & Noble deal
- ReaderLink 'preparing rival bid for Barnes & Noble'
- Elliott deal for Barnes & Noble goes through, Daunt heads to New York
- US press assesses 'literary tastemaker' Daunt's arrival at Barnes & Noble