Parneros: B&N Will Go Bankrupt Before It Can Be Turned Around
Barnes & Noble CEO Demos Parneros revealed in the quarterly investor conference call on Thursday that he saw B&N’s new strategic plan as a "a multiyear process", which means that it won’t be ready to save the company until after the expected bankruptcy.
To be clear, even when an organization is working with a sense of urgency and clearly defined strategic goals, turnarounds take time. We anticipate a multiyear process to implement the changes that we have outlined in our strategic plan. We look forward to keeping you updated on our progress on our upcoming calls.
The strategic plan includes brainstorms like building smaller stores, developing business practices Best Buy and Walmart adopted a decade ago, draining existing stores of vital sales stock so it can be sold online, and loading up on management while firing experienced employees.
The new stores will be 14,000 square feet in size:
We are excited to announce that later this year we will open five new prototype stores that feature a smaller format and new design. This rightsized format will have a new look and merchandise focused on books and other categories that are more reflective of today’s business model. We look forward to welcoming customers to these new stores.
Remember the smaller mall stores B&N used to have but killed off a decade and a half ago in favor of its big box store? That’s what they will be building.
The new stores will follow the same design as the prototype store I visited in Fredericksburg, VA. Designed by Martin Roberts, the store features a loop layout and a much brighter color scheme, and no, they will not have restaurants.
The new stores will be the focal point of a stocking policy straight out of 2005.
Furthermore, later on this year, we will launch our buy online, pick-up in store offering for customers. This will replace our current reserve online, pick-up in store program. Through this new offer, our promise to customers is that they can place an online order and pick it up at their local store within one hour.
Yes, B&N is finally going to let its seven remaining customers buy on the site (and pay the online price) and pick up the order in the store. This is only something that Best Buy and Walmart were doing a decade ago, but hey, better late than never.
And if nothing else, at least those customers aren’t going to be forced to pay the higher in-store price, which is great considering that B&N stores still don’t price-match its website.
To shepherd the new programs, B&N plans to hire top-flight talent to replace the experienced employees it just fired. It’s also going to make sure all those plush offices in Manhattan are fully occupied:
To support these efforts, we are focused on attracting, retaining and developing top talent throughout the organization. Over this past year, we have attracted new talent to our senior management team and recently have made another key hire to support our strategic plan. …
I am very proud of the work that our team has done. In my first year on the job, I am thrilled to say that we have added eight new executives to our team. This has allowed us to have an incredible balance between people with deep company history and bookselling experience, combined with the talented retail executives we have added. I feel like we have a fantastic team to lead our transformation.
There you have it, folks; B&N’s plan is to load up on management and sell fewer books from smaller stores.
That sounds like a winner.