Barnes & Noble Inc said in a presentation for investors that it will test four redesigned stores later this year that have larger café areas offering alcohols and an expanded food menu.
The first concept store will launch in Eastchester, New York, in October, followed by locations in Edina, Minnesota; Folsom, California, and Loudon, Virginia.
Currently, Barnes & Noble owns 640 bookstores nationwide.
The objective is to increase traffic to the stores and to grow food and beverage sales from just under 10 percent of the retailer's total sales.
Chief Executive Ron Boire said, “We’re going to offer good food, and because we’re Barnes & Noble it’s going to be affordable, not $50 dinner entrees,” according to the Journal.
“Our new cafes will be a major commitment to hospitality and will contribute a larger percentage of sales in our stores,” said Jaime Carey, the newly announced president of the company’s restaurant group, according to the New York Post.
“Our goal was to develop a better bookstore that provides more public space,” Carey said, and “where books are still the hero.”
Another major initiative to boost store sales is growing B&N's membership base as well.. Members are B&N's best customers, Boire said.
Barnes & Noble’s plan to improve earnings is based on increasing sales in its physical bookstores as well as via BN.com and decreasing Nook’s losses to under $10 million by 2020.
The plan was well received by investors, who pushed the shares up 7.9 percent to $11.26 in New York. The stock is now up 29 percent this year. In the meantime, Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) fell more than 3% too Friday.