Barnes & Noble Doesn’t Know the Meaning of the Word "Plan"
Remember a month ago when B&N announced new plans for a new direction for the company? Today it seems that those plans are no more definite than the ones they replaced.
Len Riggio and other B&N senior management addressed the annual stockholder’s meeting yesterday. The meeting started off with a recap of B&N’s poor showing these past few quarters, a confirmation of the new retail site launching in April, and other old news, and then the meeting turned to future plans.
There was pressure from some stockholders for B&N to issue a dividend, which the senior management said that they were considering. There were also question about the possibility of selling off either the Nook division and Riggio deciding not to buy the retail stores, but neither was answered effectively.
Riggio & crowd were also less than forthcoming about how they plan to get B&N out of its current troubles. In fact, it’s not clear that they have a plan at the moment. From PW:
Once again, Riggio emphasized that “everything is on the table; we’re looking at all the doors. How we proceed depends on the opportunities we encounter. Some of you tell me you want a dividend, or a special dividend; others say sell one of the companies or others say split up the company. There are a lot of possibilities and not all of them mesh.”
Last month B&N announced that they had changed their minds and weren’t going to get out of hardware development; they had changed their minds and weren’t going to split up the company; and they had changed their minds and were going to focus more on a coordinated domestic retail push with a new site.
Anyone care to take a guess just how many of those plans will still be around this time next month?
I don’t know, but I strongly suspect that many of the current plans are going to go out the window after this next holiday season.
Between the bad financial reports, contradictory statements from B&N management, and that disastrous interview from earlier this year (which revealed that B&N plans to close 20 stores a year for the next decade), B&N has damaged consumer confidence.
I’m afraid that is going to translate into poorer sales this holiday season, and if that happens then it could lead to an even more desperate scramble for a new plan.