Avid book-buyers can expect to see a dwindling number of Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) stores in coming years.
The book retailer’s CEO, Mitchell Klipper, told The Wall Street Journal that the company expects to shutter up to a third of its existing stores within 10 years.
Investors weren’t happy with the news. BKS shares slid about 2% in Monday morning trading.
Barnes & Noble currently operates 689 retail outlets. But that will fall to between 450 and 500 book stores by 2023. According to Klipper, the chain will close about 20 stores annually for the next decade. The company also runs 674 separate college textbook stores.
Until 2009, Barnes & Noble was opening about 30 retail stores a year, while closing about half that number. During the current fiscal year, it has opened only two new stores.
News that it will begin closing stores probably shouldn’t be a surprise. The company is facing rising competition from lower-cost online retailers like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and the growing popularity of e-books.
During the holiday season, Barnes & Noble saw bookstore and online sales drop 10.9% compared to a year ago.