Barnes & Nobel SWOT Analysis

Barnes & Nobel, enlisted in NYSE as BKS, is a well established bookseller that provides access to books, music (CD/DVD), toys, newspapers etc. It operates in two segments, retailing and college (stores). The main business is trading books (hardcover and paperback). It also has a large number of customers on its internet website that target mostly the younger generation.


• It has a strong presence regarding its products.

• Included in Fortune 500 list of companies.

• Product line includes: books, music, movies etc.

• Globally recognized as the largest book retailer.

• Strives for integrating such an environment that creates a connection with its customers.

• It has also established itself as an e-retailer (9% of its sales takes place through internet, 89% sales on stores)

• It is the market leader in book retailing with over 1,357 stores worldwide, with approximately 637 stores on college campuses. (May1, 2010)

• It has strong brand equity, and partnering with Starbucks who have cafes in these stores attracts a lot of customers.

• Uses multiple channels for product distribution, online as well as stores that cover a large network.

• Asset Leverage is yet another advantage that Barnes and Nobel incur.

• Effective communication through their stores by placing different kiosks and boards.

• Research and development is very high regarding the company.

• Innovation regarding new technology.

• Customer loyalty that is integrated with the brand itself.

• It is gradually growing online due to the way the new generation is changing.

• Management team has a strong sense of direction and customer feedback.

• Financial position is very strong.

• Also offers e-books.

• Large inventory and distribution center that support current operation.

• Nook, a new electronic product introduced by the company that stores more than a million books, with amazing features like Wi-Fi. Even Newspapers can be read read from this product with its high resolution display.


• Majority of the stores are established in the US, which shows a strong dependence on the US market.

• Recently the company is lacking in performance.

• Depends on a few particular suppliers.


• They should penetrate on a combination of making such an environment in stores that focus on selling books, music, movies, coffee and also they should indulge more in publishing books.

• Electronic commerce is growing and B&N should make use of the internet to cover more domains that would diversify the risk factor attached to the US market.

• Consumer spending is potentially increasing.

• It can start acquisitions in new markets if not established (financially strong).

• Takeovers and joint ventures of smaller yet significant companies that have good brand equity.


• Public libraries and companies such as are real threats to the company.

• Competition in both retailing book stores as well as online is getting tougher.

• Piracy and illegal downloading and copy of hard books in different markets is defecting the share of the company largely.

• Product substitution (books are being substituted for ebooks).


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