During its annual investor call, Barnes & Noble announced plans to open four new concept stores later this year, with the first store opening this October in Eastchester, according to a press release.
The new Eastchester store, located at the Vernon Hills Shopping Center, will serve as a cultural hub to the local community, featuring a broad assortment of books, expanded seating and large open spaces for in-store events. The store will also have a full-service restaurant, which will serve beer and wine, as well as a large outdoor space with fun elements such as a bocce court, fire pit, outdoor seating and more to bring the community together.
The goal is to boost traffic to the stores and to grow food and beverage sales from just under 10 percent of the retailer's total sales to a larger pillar of the business. A key part of the strategy these days is to grow in categories outside of its core book business, which has long suffered due to competition from Amazon.com.
After the first store opens in Eastchester, locations in Edina, Minnesota, Folsom, California, and Loudon, Virginia will follow.
“We wanted to create a better bookstore,” Jaime Carey, president of development and the restaurant group, told Fortune at the company’s investor day. “We already have a cafe, so we said let’s have a much better food experience frankly. We think they’re going to drive traffic to the store and keeping them in the store longer.”
The announcement sent the company's stock up almost eight percent on Thursday. The company said that it expected flat to one percent growth this year in sales at its stores open more than a year. It also said it expects to close just eight stores this year—the fewest store closures in a single year since 2000.
RELATED: Weekend events for kids in the Westchester area
Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest updates on fun events and other family activities in your area.
Main photo: Rendering of restaurant at Barnes and Noble Eastchester