Shopping Centers Today

JUL 2014

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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100. Hitting the century mark is a huge accomplishment for any business, but the celebration will be much the sweeter for this chain that has been expanding its store base in the face of stiff headwinds of competition from digital media and online booksellers. Birmingham, Ala.–based Books-A-Million, Inc., started in 1917 as a street corner newsstand, is now the second-largest brick-and-mortar book re- tailer in the U.S., behind Barnes & Noble. The company operates nearly 260 stores across 33 states and is building up its store count with a new buy-sell-trade concept it calls 2nd & Charles. "We opened 20 stores in 2013, and we have a very active pipeline," said Shannon Tyndall, Books-A-Million's vice president of real estate. This activity places Books-A-Million on a very short list of booksellers that con- tinue to expand. The demise of Borders and the further paring down of the store NyoNe expeCTINg the extinction of the traditional bookstore would do well to take note of Books-A-Million's approaching big anniversary: In 2017 the chain turns count at Barnes & Noble are signs of just how tough the retail book business has become in the face of competition from digital e-readers and the likes of Amazon.com and eBay. Certainly, pub- licly traded Books-A-Million has not been immune to market challenges. In recent years the company has seen a slide in both revenues and same-store sales. For the 52-week period that ended Feb. 1, net revenues dropped by 5.6 percent, to $470.3 million, compared with the year- earlier period. Comparable-store sales over that same period fell by 6.8 percent. Why continue to add stores in the face of such sales declines? part of the strategy appears to focus on grabbing a bigger share of a shrinking pie. Books-A-Million Ceo and president Terrance g. Finley has said before that the company believes "real estate opportunities are local." As such, Books-A-Million continues to evalu- ate various geographies on a case-by-case basis to find new store opportunities that are a good fit for the company and have a strong potential to be profitable. Coming up with fresh ways to con- nect with customers and draw them into the stores is critical for every retailer now, and so is expanding the varieties of offer- ings. "What brick-and-mortar stores are delivering is a shopping experience," said Josh Burmeister, an executive vice presi- dent of Jones Lang LaSalle in Mobile, Ala. Burmeister has worked with both Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million to secure new store locations in the South- east. Books-A-Million stores now sell not just books, but also technology, music, media and toys. "We do go to their stores ,and my children love it," he said. The 2nd & Charles concept is a key A Turning the page books-a-million keeps growing as other bookstore chains contract By Beth Mattson-Teig r e t A i l i n g t o d A y 18 S C t / J u l y 2 0 1 4 18-20_SCT_JUL14_Books-a-Million.indd 18 6/12/14 5:50 PM

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