Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

A “very, very desirable” tenant says will open fewer stores


barnesnoble.jpgBarnes & Nobles expects to open 20 to 25 new stores in 2009 — down from 30 to 35 store openings this year.
It’s not that the company wants to open fewer stores, according to  Barnes & Noble Chief Executive Joseph Lombardi.

While the bookseller is taking advantage of favorable deals with existing landlords, it said the U.S. housing crisis and credit crunch mean that developers are not able to finance as many new projects  — leading to fewer opportunities for Barnes & Noble to open stores in new shopping centers. 

“It is true that landlords are offering better deals for many existing centers. As you can imagine, we’re a very, very desirable tenant, and we continue to be very selective about going into existing centers or renovated centers,” Lombardi said on a call with analysts. ”

“But in terms of new development, the principal reason for the pull-back is that many developments are being canceled. So the developers are not able to finance many new projects, and that’s the principal result. So we can’t go somewhere where there’s no center … most of those decisions are not ones that we pulled out of, but where the developer pulled the plug.”