Barnes & Noble is entertaining the possibility of selling itself

Putting some feelers out.
Putting some feelers out.
Image: Reuters/Mike Blake
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Barnes & Noble wants to explore its options.

The beleaguered US book chain has announced “a formal review process to evaluate strategic alternatives” for itself—among them, it seems, a possible sale. According to a press release today (Oct. 3), “This decision follows expressions of interest from multiple parties in making an offer to acquire the Company, including from the Company’s Chairman, Leonard Riggio.”

In its annual report, released today, the company said store sales in its fiscal year were down 5.4% from the year before. Its total sales have been in steady decline since 2014:

As a bookseller, B&N has struggled on the one hand to keep up with the speed and ubiquity of Amazon, and on the other, to attract people to stores the way small, local indies have. It’s also suffered from the decline of US shopping malls. In the last earnings call, Riggio, the B&N founder and chair, said the company still needs to figure out new store sizes and layouts, and that its recent venture into restaurants was not successful.

B&N’s leadership has been flailing as well; the company abruptly fired CEO Demos Parneros after less than 15 months on the job. In August, Parneros sued B&N for wrongful termination, publicly attacking Riggio in the process.