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Old 06-08-2019, 10:19 PM   #46
Apache
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Amazon begs to differ.
Here's the link again:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k53IDbtP-58

BTW, the malls I'm familiar with all have loading docks: they need ways to move merchandise in and garbage out. Usually hidden near the garbage dumpsters but very accessible. Also, the preferred location criteria for malls are the same as for distribution centers, right up to public transportation accessibility.
I have been in more malls than most people. I used to travel for a living and my job took me to a different mall every day. Yes malls have loading docks. The mall loading docks are usually only found at the anchor stores. The small stores do not have loading docks. Most of them just have back doors. And some stores do not even have that. And unless the store backs up to an outside wall their back door is in a narrow service corridor. If you look at distribution centers, their outside walls are made up of loading docks. Distribution centers move a lot of freight and it is nothing for a large distribution center to have hundreds of loading docks. Loading docks also need a way to move freight around the dock with a human doing the moving. That is usually handled by a drag line that is imbedded into the concrete floor. Freight is unloaded from one trailer onto a cart, locked into the line and then pulled off when it gets to the correct bay.
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Old 06-08-2019, 11:13 PM   #47
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Malls would take more money to convert to a distribution center than building one from the ground up. Distribution centers need a large loading dock and malls do not have that. Especially those that had movie theaters in them.
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Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
Amazon begs to differ.
Here's the link again:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k53IDbtP-58

BTW, the malls I'm familiar with all have loading docks: they need ways to move merchandise in and garbage out. Usually hidden near the garbage dumpsters but very accessible. Also, the preferred location criteria for malls are the same as for distribution centers, right up to public transportation accessibility.
It's the large locations near populated areas that Amazon needs, not the old malls. Malls would be pathetic for use as a warehouse (if not impossible). In both examples shown in the video, Amazon bought the malls for the location and property and has either torn the malls down (or are going to tear them down) to build new warehouses.

Edit, unedited. Another point the video makes is that the malls already have the infrastructure (sewers, electricity, etc., in place) so that allows Amazon to build faster.

(I've attached screen grabs from the video showing the proposed Amazon building and then the back of it when finished. You can see all the truck docks.)

EDIT: I know it's off-topic, but the mall Amazon bought and replaced was called the Euclid Square Mall. By 2001 it was basically dead, but three stores and 24 mall churches hung on until (I think, 2016) when the city condemned the property.

Kind of a pathetic story about it ... https://www.cleveland.com/globalvill...w_home_to.html
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Old 06-08-2019, 11:51 PM   #48
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it's been bugging me for a couple days that the initial goodereader article about the rumor used the phrase "new york hedge fund" in the headline.

I can't say why in this thread due to forum rules though.


Or I could be seeing something that's not there.

But I fail to see the big difference between a "new york hedge fund" and a hedge fund that isn't a new york hedge fund.

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Old 06-08-2019, 11:58 PM   #49
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But I fail to see the big difference between a "new york hedge fund" and a hedge fund that isn't a new york hedge fund.
I think he just meant a hedge fund located in New York. But hedge funds, in general, don't have very good reputations.
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:00 AM   #50
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I mean, but to put it in the headline?

Anyway, yeah, they don't have good reputations.
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:03 AM   #51
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I mean, but to put it in the headline?

Anyway, yeah, they don't have good reputations.
Well, it IS Good E-Reader, so who knows what he meant.
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Old 06-09-2019, 03:54 AM   #52
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it's been bugging me for a couple days that the initial goodereader article about the rumor used the phrase "new york hedge fund" in the headline.
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I mean, but to put it in the headline?
I think the problem is that you are putting more thought into the unintended implications of the wording of their headline than they did when writing it

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Old 06-09-2019, 04:15 AM   #53
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That could be
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Old 06-23-2019, 08:58 PM   #54
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I saw the news a few days ago, and saw a post in book industry consultant Mike Shatzkin's blog about it: https://www.idealog.com/blog/the-sal...as-bookstores/

That something like this might occur was not a surprise. Folks here may remember bookstore chain Borders going belly up and winding up in Chapter 7 liquidation because various stakeholders couldn't agree on the terms of a Chapter 11 reorganization. Barnes and Noble and Borders were trying to match each other superstore for superstore in a market that arguably wasn't big enough to support one of them, let alone both.

The underlying problem is that books are fungible commodities. It's the same book, no matter where you buy it, so the purchase decision devolves to convenience and price.

The independent bookstore was already an endangered species. They couldn't match the pricing of the big chains. (There are a few surviving independent bookstores near me in Manhattan, but all are specialty shops carrying specific categories, and titles not likely found in a chain store.)

The big chains like B&N were under pressure from the warehouse stores. (CostCo sells an enormous number of books.)

And everyone was under pressure from Amazon. Amazon had both superior pricing, and unparalleled convenience. See it in Amazon's catalog, buy it, and have it delivered is a few days (or download it immediately if it was an eBook.) No need to leave the comfort of your chair.

Ultimately, we are dealing with publicly held companies, and for the shareholders, it's all about the price of the stock.

Hedge funds have bad reputations, but are not universally villains. Hedge funds want to make money. They want to make more money than investors in them would see from ordinary funds.

Hedge funds tend to be activist investors, buying significant stock in companies they consider undervalued to get seats on the board, and pressuring management to take actions they see as boosting the value of the stock. You don't make money bankrupting companies. In some cases, the end result of management taking those actions is bankruptcy, but the short term response may be a jump in the price of the company's stock. An unscrupulous hedge fund might not care about that - they buy stock at a low price, do things to boost the price, then sell and take the profits. That the company fails afterward is not their concern.

Other hedge funds may see assets they think are undervalued and are turn-around candidates. The usual method for doing that is to refocus, reallocate assets, and downsize to something sustainable that can then grow from a stable base. That's what the outfit buying B&N seems to be looking at doing.

The tricky part is the downsizing. B&N knew it was too big and needed to shrink and shed outlets. The problem is that an awful lot of those outlets were in locations with long term leases you can't just walk away from. B&N was hoping the demise of competitor Borders and new venture like the Nook would give them breathing room, and they could simply not renew leases that expired and shrink to a more sensible footprint in a controlled manner. The question was whether they would have the time for that to happen. The answer seems to be no.

My impression is that the commercial real estate market in Britain differs somewhat from that in the US. The outfit that bought B&N seems to be successfully downsizing it, and folks I know in the UK seem pleased with the changes taking place at Waterstone's. How well the effort will work over here is another matter, and may revolve around how fast they can close stores. That may in turn depend on how big a war chest they have, to be able to walk away from leases and just pay the damages involved in breaking the lease. I don't believe B&N could afford to do that. The new owners might be able to if they see enough upside in succeeding.

The Nook is likely to be a casualty of this, but it was questionable from the beginning. Once you've sold a B&N customer a Nook, and they have the ability to browse B&N's catalog online and download eBooks, what is their incentive to go back to the brick and mortar store? Mostly, there isn't one, and having those brick and mortar stores where you want to boost traffic made offering a device that might reduce it a questionable move.
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Old 06-23-2019, 09:06 PM   #55
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On the other hand, Amazon's got the digital content ecosystem and is getting into B&M retail.

But that's probably different, I'll let someone else confirm or deny this because I can't be bothered to expend the mental effort to elaborate.
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Old 06-23-2019, 09:38 PM   #56
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On the other hand, Amazon's got the digital content ecosystem and is getting into B&M retail.

But that's probably different, I'll let someone else confirm or deny this because I can't be bothered to expend the mental effort to elaborate.
They are indeed, and it is different. You can expect their expansion into brick and mortar to be very carefully thought out.

Acquiring Whole Foods is an example. While there are efforts to provide delivery of stuff like that, groceries tend to be things you go to a brick and mortar store to purchase. There used to be about five supermarkets near me in NYC, for example. The last one standing is a Trader Joes (an unit of the same parent company as Aldi.) That used to be a Food Emporium, which was a unit of A&P. Trader Joe's model is house brands and specialty items, and a careful understanding of who their customers are and what they buy.

I expect Amazon to make cautious forays into other forms of B&M retailing offering items you are less likely to buy from a catalog, and really need to see in person before buying. (Fashion would not surprise me. You might buy something like underwear online and have it shipped, but would you buy a suit that way?)

And Amazon starts with the distribution infrastructure they put into place to support their "Select from an online catalog and have it delivered" model, as the places it will be delivered from are carefully selected to be near their customers. That will make stocking the B&M outlets they acquire or open easier.

Amazon is all about reducing transaction costs as a way to offer value to customers, and those costs aren't just money. Anything they can do to make it easier and faster for customers to shop with them is in their interest.
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Old 06-24-2019, 09:17 AM   #57
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The tricky part is the downsizing. B&N knew it was too big and needed to shrink and shed outlets. The problem is that an awful lot of those outlets were in locations with long term leases you can't just walk away from.
All true.
Minor point: B&N could have broken leases at any time over the past few years by going through a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy "rinse". (Under Section 365(b) of the bankruptcy Code.) They chose not to for reasons of their own.

B&N has never been a complete zombie; they just refused to do what was necessary to save the company. There is still room in the market for megastores--a couple dozen--but the other 600 or so need to shrink down to the old WaldenBooks size and focus on local tastes.

Check this: http://www.jcsimonds.com/2019/06/09/...by-hedge-fund/

So far, Daunt has said the right things...
...with one (scary) exception: he said he thinks the US is "under-bookshopped". That they need *more* stores.

That is only technically true: UK population density and demographic distribution is different is different. Trying to *grow* B&N to Waterstones' store/population ratio would require as many as 3000 stores. Not viable. Even independents are barely holding on at a third that count. (Even counting stores that aren't traditional bookstores.)

He may have had something else in mind, hopefully.

Still, going hyperlocal and dropping payola should help a lot. Just not immediately. Biting the bullet and doing the rinse, shrinking to 200-300 and growing from there would. They might be able to IPO by 2022-23 that way.

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Old 06-24-2019, 05:06 PM   #58
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All true.
Minor point: B&N could have broken leases at any time over the past few years by going through a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy "rinse". (Under Section 365(b) of the bankruptcy Code.) They chose not to for reasons of their own.

B&N has never been a complete zombie; they just refused to do what was necessary to save the company. There is still room in the market for megastores--a couple dozen--but the other 600 or so need to shrink down to the old WaldenBooks size and focus on local tastes.

Check this: http://www.jcsimonds.com/2019/06/09/...by-hedge-fund/

So far, Daunt has said the right things...
...with one (scary) exception: he said he thinks the US is "under-bookshopped". That they need *more* stores.

That is only technically true: UK population density and demographic distribution is different is different. Trying to *grow* B&N to Waterstones' store/population ratio would require as many as 3000 stores. Not viable. Even independents are barely holding on at a third that count. (Even counting stores that aren't traditional bookstores.)

He may have had something else in mind, hopefully.

Still, going hyperlocal and dropping payola should help a lot. Just not immediately. Biting the bullet and doing the rinse, shrinking to 200-300 and growing from there would. They might be able to IPO by 2022-23 that way.
It all depends on what B&N's business model is. I think that if they go back to the model they used some 10 to 15 years ago, i.e. a bookstore that encouraged browsing and hanging out, i.e. the social aspects of reading, and was focused on what dedicated readers want, then they might have a pretty good shot at things. There are still a lot of people out there who like to read and aren't really into eBooks. Heck, I might even start going back there if they fill that social void as well as some other aspects that Amazon isn't particularly good at. I'm not sure how profitable it would be though. Certainly, it would have to be focused on a premium experience to get people to get out of the house and into the store.
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Old 06-25-2019, 01:52 AM   #59
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It all depends on what B&N's business model is. I think that if they go back to the model they used some 10 to 15 years ago, i.e. a bookstore that encouraged browsing and hanging out, i.e. the social aspects of reading, and was focused on what dedicated readers want, then they might have a pretty good shot at things. There are still a lot of people out there who like to read and aren't really into eBooks. Heck, I might even start going back there if they fill that social void as well as some other aspects that Amazon isn't particularly good at. I'm not sure how profitable it would be though. Certainly, it would have to be focused on a premium experience to get people to get out of the house and into the store.
I think the biggest problems B&N has had are reducible to 3, at least for the people like me who buy a lot of print books every year.

First, even though I am a B&N member, the discount membership gives me at the store still almost always leaves the book higher priced than if I buy the same book at B&N online. I used to go to the local store to buy books, not to sit and read or hangout or buy coffee -- to buy books. I used to buy 4 or 5 books at a time and my wife would buy an additional few. But the price spread was enough to make it unworthwhile to go to the store, especially if you add in the cost of getting there (and back), including the time.

Second, the store only sells books that are already released, which is understandable. But heavy readers like me tend to preorder books (I currently have more than 40 hardcovers still on preorder; if I count all of the books I preordered for delivery in 2019, including those already received, the preorder count for hardcovers exceeds 75 to date) , yet the stores have no way to let you browse coming books and make preorders -- the advice is to go online.

Complicating this preorder problem is the lack of a lowest price guarantee. I have complained to B&N at least a dozen times about this. And it is a real problem because there is nothing more irritating than preordering a book and discovering when it arrives 6 months later that B&N had offered the book for $5 less. It is true that if I happened to catch that, B&N customer service would refund the difference, but catching that lower price offer is a matter of luck. Amazon is much better because I can just preorder the book and receive the lowest price automatically. I have told B&N that it isn't a matter of matching Amazon's price; rather, it is giving me the lowest B&N price without my having to police every preorder. But B&N has done nothing to fix this problem.

As a result, I have shifted my preordering (except for editions I cannot get at Amazon like signed books) to Amazon. This is a significant number of titles and if many others do the same, B&N has lost a lot of sales.

Third, membership has really no perks. The only advantage for me is that I get free shipping, which is supposed to be "express" (defined as 1-3 days) but rarely is. B&N needs to up its membership game and really make membership valuable. One thing I have suggested in the past is to give members the lowest price in the store; that is, if a member buys a book that with the member discount will cost $20 but is available online for $17, give it to the member in the store for $17. Or make shipping truly express.

B&N stores won't succeed unless the stores and the online are closer together in terms of pricing. Why spend more to be able to choose from less inventory?
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Old 06-25-2019, 07:56 AM   #60
fjtorres
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhadin View Post

B&N stores won't succeed unless the stores and the online are closer together in terms of pricing. Why spend more to be able to choose from less inventory?
Key point, that.
It hits at the core divide between casual and heavy readers.
Heavy readers tend to spread their reading across more and more diverse books than most B&M stores can *profitably* stock. They are an entirely different market and they prefer the biggest possible catalog to choose from. When warehouse stores had the biggest catalog, as high as 8-10 times the average independent, the warehouses got their business and loyalty. But those days are gone. Online offers 8-10 times what the biggest warehouses ever did, including used books. Loyalty only goes so far.

That is why B&N needs to go bimodal: big online to serve heavy readers, small but hyperlocal for casual readers. Small B&M, focused on Everywhere Books, is something known to work. Just ask Hudson. The ROI on the added books at the big store just isn't worth it. They'd get the same return at lower cost by integrating online and B&M instead of treating them as separate businesses.

B&N needs to optimize their separate services to match their customers distinct needs and most heavy buyers are already used to online. They just need to treat them well to get their business. Integrate both halves properly--as BEST BUY has done and Walmart is trying--and they'll have a chance. Otherwise...
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