Barnes and Noble has spun off its college bookstore business in a bid to better compete against rivals like Amazon, and to be able to complete strategic deals in the digital space. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Barnes and Noble Education making its debut on the New York Stock Exchange. The spinoff of the bookstore chain's college bookstore business having a tough first day of trading. The stock, ticker BNED, under pressure. While the brick and mortar chain has moved into digital, notably with a heavy investment in its YuZu digital platform, the company faces heavy competition from rivals like Amazon, which offers discounted prime membership and other incentives to students. But executive chairman Michael Huseby says, their on-site presence across over 700 college campuses can't be matched: SOUNDBITE: MICHAEL HUSEBY, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, BARNES AND NOBLE EDUCATION (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Digital is already a big part of our business, over $350 million last year in digital sales, which was a 14 percent increase in transactions. Our general merchandise, in the stores and online, was up almost five percent last year, so, in terms of those kinds of competitors, online only competitors, they just don't have the presence, and they don't have the full suite of services to support the faculty, the students and the institution." Huseby also says, as a separate company, the education business has more freedom to go after strategic partnerships and acquisitions that will help expand the Barnes and Noble Education footprint.