Barnes & Noble Cutting Jobs Following Dismal Holiday Season
Barnes & Noble confirmed Tuesday that a new labor model in its stores will result in job cuts. The move will help the bookstore chain save roughly $40 million annually. The brunt of the job cuts will occur at the retailer's stores, with lead cashiers, digital leads and other experienced workers being let go. The news came abruptly for many workers who showed up Monday morning at various Barnes & Noble locations to be notified that they no longer had a job, the people said. The number of affected workers couldn't immediately be determined. That abruptness of the news may not have been anticipated, but Barnes & Noble is running out of options as it seeks to win back market share from Amazon.com and Walmart, which have both prioritized book sales. Furthermore, the retailer wasn't able capitalize on strong consumer spending during last year's fourth quarter, reporting that its holiday sales declined 6 percent year-over-year.
Total Retail's Take: Unlike our other news item in today's issue (Amazon announcing hundreds of corporate layoffs), this one makes a lot more sense. Barnes & Noble has been struggling for some time with increased online competition and the rebirth of small, independent community-based bookstores, and the traditional brick-and-mortar retailer is looking to cut costs to keep itself afloat. Following a disappointing holiday season, it seems to be a good time to begin with a new plan. Unfortunately that means job cuts. A greater focus on e-commerce and digital book sales, and less of a reliance on in-store sales, would seem to be the prudent course in a changing market.