Barnes & Noble Expands Offerings Under New Plan (NYSE:BKS)

Barnes & Noble is expanding its offerings of toys, games, gadgets and other gifts under a plan to reshape the nation’s largest bookstore chain into a “lifestyle brand.” The company is also making an effort to make its thousands of books more enticing and searchable. The company also reports that it has doubled the amount of floor space devoted to graphic novels and manga and has expanded its stock of collectible figurines. Barnes & Noble says that its latest changes will increase foot traffic and drive sales.

The company is also holding more events at its stores. Last month, the chain held a coloring event across the nation, passing out thousands of sample sheets from coloring books and art supplies. Adult coloring books is currently one of the fastest-growing book categories. The company also held a national Mini Maker Faire recently, offering coding and 3-D printing workshops to promote technology literacy.

Barnes & Noble is under increasing pressure to reverse its fortunes. The company just announced another disappointing fiscal quarter. For its second quarter, which ended on Oct. 31, the company posted a net loss of $27.2 million, or 36 cents a share. Last year, the company reported losses of $5.1 million, or 16 cents a share. Sales fell to $895 million, a 4.5 percent drop compared with the previous year.

Its Nook division has been suffering significant losses. The Nook segment tumbled 31.9 percent in the most recent quarter, falling to $43.5 million, primarily because of lower digital content sales. The company is also facing spiraling losses from store closings. The chain has closed more than 70 stores around the country in the last five years, and plans to close 10 more in the coming year.

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