Troubled Book Retailer Improves Image with Beauty Products

From 2008 to 2016, Barnes & Noble closed 150 stores throughout the country. And although the number of closings has been shrinking in recent years, the major book retailer still struggles to keep afloat in an era largely dominated by e-commerce book dealers (Amazon, anyone?).

What could possible help this slow-sinking ship? Back in May, Barnes & Nobles announced via a press release that is would begin experimenting with a new expansion concept: opening a beauty products section in select college campus-based bookstores. After all, who wouldn’t want to get smarter and more beautiful?

Aptly dubbed “The Glossary” the beauty products section is formatted more like a micro store within Barnes & Noble where students can rifle through a mixed bag of mainstream and high-end name-brand products. So far, The Glossary features beauty supplies from such recognized brands as:

  • Maybelline
  • Smashbox
  • Butter London
  • CoverGirl
  • Philosophy
  • L’Oréal
  • Burt’s Bees
  • Living Proof
  • Bliss
  • Lipstick Queen

Before officially opening The Glossary, the Barnes & Noble merchandizing team ran focus groups and other organized events to allow students to create a vision of the section’s look, feel, and inventory. Understanding that most college students don’t have cars, the team made another ingenious decision to place test sites for The Glossary in campuses with limited access to beauty product competitors.

At first, The Glossary was only available at Barnes & Noble bookstore locations at Emory University and Southern Methodist University to tentatively test initial reactions. Meeting positive feedback, The Glossary has since spread to Tulane University, the College of William & Mary, and by August, the University of California at Riverside.

But wait, there’s more. It seems Barnes & Noble is already getting ready to unleash another concept idea: alcoholic beverages. That’s right, according to CNN the first store to serve up beer and wine will be in Eastchester, New York come this October. Books, beauties, and booze? I say, bring it on!


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