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Barnes & Noble And Beer And Wine: The Big-Box Bookstore's New Concept

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Barnes & Noble And Beer And Wine: The Big-Box Bookstore's New Concept

Give a toast to Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), both figuratively and literally, as the chain is set to open four "concept" stores that will feature restaurants with an expanded menu, including sales of beer and wine.

A Wall Street Journal report said the first concept store will open in Eastchester, New York, in October, followed by locations in Edina, Minnesota; Folsom, California; and One Loudon, Virginia.

Apart from its traditional cafe eats, the report said, "Barnes & Noble will offer a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, together with waiter service at the four new stores."

"We're going to offer good food, and because we're Barnes & Noble it's going to be affordable, not $50 dinner entrees," said Chief Executive Ron Boire.

Related Link: From Conference Call: Barns & Noble Says Reduced Expenses By Exiting Some Businesses, Outsourcing Functions

The bookselling giant, which faces stiff competition from Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), is betting on restaurant business to revive store traffic that weighed on its company's recent fourth-quarter results.

For the quarter ended April 30, comparable-store sales declined 0.8 percent and total quarterly retail sales, which include the stores and the BN.com online business, fell 2.2 percent to $850 million.

"I think the expanded cafes are a very good idea," said John Tinker, an analyst with Gabelli & Co., told the Journal. "This gets people into the stores to do stuff. It's also something Amazon can't do. What we have to see is whether Barnes & Noble can increase its sales and fix its tech issues generally going forward. They have to execute."

The Journal said the company noted "books generate about 60 percent of bookstore revenue, while gifts, music, DVDs, toys and games contribute 20 percent of bookstore revenue combined. The cafe business adds just under 10 percent of bookstore revenue."

Shares of Barnes & Noble closed Thursday's regular trading at $11.26. In the pre-market hours, they fell 3.46 percent to $10.87.

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