retail news in context, analysis with attitude

CNN reports that Barnes & Noble continues to swim in red ink, with sales down and debt alarmingly up, and with "only $13.4 million in cash -- down from $32 million a year ago."

The story notes that "Barnes & Noble's efforts to keep up with Amazon have mostly been in vain. The company said online sales actually fell 22% in its most recent quarter after it launched a new website that had some notable glitches. And the company's Nook e-reader -- a competitor to Amazon's Kindle -- has been a huge flop. Nook sales (which include digital books as well as the devices) plunged nearly 32% from a year ago."

There are some glimmers of hope for Barnes & Noble, suggests. Apparently there is a coloring book trend that it is capitalizing on, as well as the vinyl record resurgence, which is allowing it to capture some new sales it might not have gotten before. And, sales of Adele's new album, "25," have been strong for the retailer.

For the moment, CNN writes, "it looks like Barnes & Noble should be able to avoid the fate of rival Borders -- which declared bankruptcy and subsequently closed up shop in 2011. For now at least. The company is also buying back stock and paying a dividend to keep investors happy.

"But not even Adele may be able to restore Barnes & Noble to its former glory..."
KC's View:
I've always thought there is room for Barnes & Noble, and especially for smartly run, intelligently differentiated independent bookstores (like Powell's, in Portland, Oregon), even in an Amazon world. It is just up to those stores to find ways to do so.

Maybe lasers?