FINANCE

Commentary: Barnes & Noble should not be dedicating floor space to Doris Day CDs

Customer traffic continues to weaken, and sales are down. Within this dynamic, books are holding up slightly better, but non-book sales are in sharp decline. Some of this is down to the fact that many Barnes & Noble stores, especially older ones, are a hodgepodge of product with seemingly little coordination and thought given to ranging. As much as it is sensible to stock things like toys and games, there are lots of other places that sell these items — often at lower prices. In essence, B&N needs to refine its non-book offer and work harder to create differentiation.

A key example of this is back to school. While B&N did make an effort with its books offer, its non-book selection and merchandising was below par and could have, and should have, been much more inspirational to encourage impulse buys and cross-purchasing. In this regard, we sometimes get the impression that B&N is just not very commercial.

B&N has tried to stimulate footfall into stores with the use of cafes and places to relax. However, we find these to be rather lackluster, and in some stores, the environment is not particularly enticing. In essence, the company needs to up its game if it is to pull in shoppers. This includes reallocating floorspace from categories like CDs — where dedicating space to Doris Day albums is both unnecessary and unproductive — to functions that are more aligned with what consumers want.

Looking ahead, we believe that B&N will continue to make progress in reducing expenses. However, we remain far less optimistic about the sales line. While B&N is testing new store layouts and formats, these will take time to filter through the chain. The year ahead looks like another one of slipping back.

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P.Patrick says:
Sep-08-2017 05:15 am

DORIS DAY a Perfect Vocalist
Yes DORIS DAY belongs in Barnes and Noble and is probably the most perfect Vocalist ever; just ask Brian May from QUEEN "A Grammy Salute To Music Legends" available at Barnes and Noble. Doris Day is a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner plus 3 Hall of Fame. Her Recording history is unparalleled for a female vocalist. 76 Charted Hits, 21 Singles in the top 10, 7 number 1, Her top Charted Albums include one at number 1 for 17 weeks. If these are not a reason enough to belong in Barnes and Noble please listen to DORIS Sing a pure sensual beautiful perfect pitch voice no Pro Tools, a natural work of Art. DORIS DAY is a gift to all of us who choose to pick up any of her CDs at Barnes and Noble.

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BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE/ANALYTICS

Amazon on hunt for location to build a second North American headquarters

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The search is on for Amazon.

The e-commerce giant is currently evaluating where it will open its second company headquarters in North America. The new office, referred to as "HQ2," will be a complete headquarters — not a satellite office. It also could have a similar layout to Amazon's Seattle campus, which employs 40,000 people, and encompasses 8.1 million sq. ft. with 33 buildings, including 24 restaurants.

Amazon expects to invest over $5 billion in HQ2’s construction, and the office will include as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs, the company said. Amazon is also giving executives the option to choose where to base their teams — in HQ2, Seattle, or split between both locations.

“We expect HQ2 to be a full equal to our Seattle headquarters,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “Amazon HQ2 will bring billions of dollars in up-front and ongoing investments, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs. We’re excited to find a second home.”

To choose the ideal location, Amazon does have some pre-requisites, including a metropolitan area with more than one million people, and a “stable and business-friendly environment” that can attract and retain technical talent. Amazon is open to building its campus in either an urban or suburban location, but is focused on communities that “think big and creatively” regarding real estate options.

The online giant is also considering a development-prepped site. “We want to encourage states and communities to think creatively for viable real estate options, while not negatively affecting our preferred timeline,” the company stated.

In addition to Amazon’s direct hiring and investment, construction and ongoing operation of Amazon HQ2 is expected to create “tens of thousands of additional jobs” and “tens of billions of dollars” in additional investment in the surrounding community. Based on its investments in Seattle from 2010 through 2016, the company contributed an additional $38 billion to the city’s economy, according to the company.

Amazon is accepting proposals through October 19. The company will announce its decision next year, according to the company's request for proposal (RFP).

The addition of HQ2 comes on the heels of another Amazon hub. In May, the company announced plans to open a new 60,000 sq. ft. development center in the Cambridge region of the United Kingdom this fall. The new technology hub will focus on innovations from artificial intelligence to machine learning.

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FINANCE

NRF revises 2017 sales growth forecast

BY Marianne Wilson

The National Retail Federation on Wednesday has lowered its annual retail sales forecast, citing government data revisions.

Retail sales for 2017 are now expected to increase between 3.2% and 3.8%, down from the 3.7% – 4.2% growth the NRF predicted earlier this year. The revision comes after the Census Bureau lowered its retail sales figures, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis downgraded its personal income and consumption figures.

“While weaker-than-expected spending in the first quarter along with decelerating inflation has also contributed to the revision, NRF anticipates stronger sales heading into the fall and holiday seasons," said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz.

Kleinhenz noted that total retail sales have grown year-over-year every month since November 2009, and retail sales as calculated by NRF — which excludes automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants — have increased year-over-year in all but one month since the beginning of 2010.

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