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Barnes & Noble exec plans more store closings

NEW YORK — Barnes & Noble reportedly plans to continue to shrink its store base.

The head of Barnes & Noble’s retail group, Mitchel Klipper, says in an interview published Monday in The Wall Street Journal that the company will have 450 to 500 stores in a decade. That’s down from about 689 currently.

Klipper said the chain plans to close about 20 stores a year over the period.

Barnes & Noble is the largest traditional U.S. bookstore operator. But it has been facing tough competition from online retailers and discounters. It has been focusing on its Nook tablet and e-book business for growth.

A spokeswoman for Barnes & Noble said Klipper’s remarks don’t mark any change in its store closing plan.

Its shares dropped 32 cents to $12.85 in midday trading Monday.

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