Books-A-Million in Macon to close

lmorris@macon.comSeptember 9, 2011 

Nearly 17 years from the day it opened in Macon, the Books-A-Million store is planning to close.

A banner installed on the front of the store states: “Store Closing. This location only.” The company also has a store in Warner Robins which opened in 2001.

An attempt Thursday to reach an executive at the company’s headquarters was unsuccessful. A staff person said the store would close by Oct. 8.

When the store opened Oct. 14, 1994, the president of the Alabama-based mega bookseller attended the grand opening celebration of the company’s 118th bookstore in the nation.

Clyde Anderson, now chairman and CEO of the company, said then that the store’s location in Bloomfield Village on Eisenhower Parkway was based partly on the demographics and traffic count.

“It took a lot of vision to do this site,” Anderson said, adding that he had invested $600,000 into the store and had more than $1 million in inventory.

In August 1999, Books-A-Million moved to its current spot, closer to Macon Mall, as the anchor in what was then a new shopping center.

A lot has happened since then. Several retailers along Eisenhower Parkway have moved or closed. Other large book stores moved into the Macon market, such as Barnes & Noble Booksellers. And the shaky economy has made it rough on businesses and shoppers.

Also, similar to other booksellers, the company has seen a shift with an increase in Internet retailers and electronic books in recent years.

“Competition in electronic commerce trade may further intensify,” the company stated in its most recent annual financial report. “The online market is rapidly evolving and intensely competitive, with few barriers to entry. Companies in the retail and electronic commerce trade may enter into business combinations or alliances that strengthen their competitive positions. This increased competition may reduce our sales or operating profits, or both.”

For the year ending Jan. 29, Books-A-Million reported a net income of $8.9 million, which was a 35.4 percent decrease from the same period of 2010, the financial report stated.

Its consolidated net revenue dropped by $13.7 million, or 2.7 percent, for the same period.

The company opened 11 new stores and closed three stores during fiscal 2011, according to the report.

In August, a judge in New York City cleared the way for Books-A-Million to take over the leases on 14 Borders Group book stores located in the eastern U.S. Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February.

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.

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