Booksellers profit from browsers

Article Excerpt

The appeal of book superstores has fueled strong growth at Barnes & Noble and Borders in the past few years. They now have roughly half of the U.S. market, largely at the expense of independent stores. To survive, independents are becoming more specialized. That will make it harder for Barnes & Noble and Borders to grow. Still, ongoing improvements to their stores should continue to spur traffic and sales. BARNES & NOBLE INC. $43 (New York symbol BKS; Aggressive Growth Portfolio, Consumer sector; Shares outstanding: 65.6 million; Market cap: $2.8 billion; WSSF Rating: Average) is the largest bookseller in the United States, with 681 full-size stores and 118 mall-based stores. It has no foreign operations. Due to a lack of best-selling titles and growing competition from online booksellers, same-store sales during the busy Christmas shopping season fell 0.1%. Sales should improve over the next few months due to this summer’s release of the final Harry Potter novel. TV-host Oprah Winfrey is once…

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