To save itself, Barnes & Noble is pivoting to books

If you stack it, they will come.
If you stack it, they will come.
Image: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni
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Barnes & Noble is having a meh quarter. But the US bookselling chain has come up with a great new plan to reinvigorate its stores and customers: books.

Today (Nov. 30), B&N posted its fiscal second-quarter results. The $30 million net loss was more than analysts predicted, and $10 million more than the loss in the same quarter last year. The company’s stock has fallen about 11% since yesterday. No worries, though; leadership has big plans.

“Going forward, we will place a greater emphasis on books, while further narrowing our non-book assortment,” said Demos Parneros, B&N’s fourth CEO in as many years, during an earnings call today. “It’s simply who we are,” he added later. “I mean, that’s our heritage. That’s what customers expect from us.” Parneros said the company would be shedding some of its under-selling stock in gifts, toys, and games.

He also said a “big takeaway” from “customer research” was that people liked interacting with Barnes & Noble’s human booksellers.

Parneros said B&N took a 6.3% hit in store sales compared with the same quarter last year, and attributed half that decline to this year’s lack of a new Harry Potter book. Maybe what the company really needs is a pivot back to Potter.