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Barnes and Noble store
AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Barnes & Noble’s pivot to books doesn’t appear to be working

Thu-Huong Ha
By Thu-Huong Ha


Last November, Barnes & Noble said it would pivot to books and rely more on trusted human booksellers to bounce back from meh performance. That strategy is not going as planned.

CNBC reports that employees across “various” locations arrived at work today (Feb. 12) to find they’d been laid off. Barnes & Noble said the layoffs were a result of poor sales performance over the holidays.

Barnes & Noble declined to specify the number of people or locations affected. “The Company has been reviewing all aspects of the business, including our labor model. Given our sales decline this holiday, we’re adjusting staffing so that it meets the needs of our existing business and our customers,” the company said in a statement.

The company’s size has shrunk or stayed the same nearly every year since 2003, when it employed 56,000 people. As of April 29, 2017, Barnes & Noble employed just 26,000 full and part-time staff.

In its 2016 fiscal year, when the company announced it would scale back efforts on its Nook e-reader, it lost 5,000 employees. It can’t help that the US book chain has also reduced store numbers every year since 2009.

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