Even as its stores reopened, Barnes & Noble continued to lay off a number of employees at its headquarters, including some book buyers.
In early April, as most of its stores were closed, B&N furloughed most employees in its headquarters, in addition to furloughing and laying off many store employees. The cuts at headquarters involved furloughing all but a couple of buyers, and it appears a number of those buyers will not be coming back.
“It is with great regret that a number of employees in the corporate office have left our employment,” a B&N statement said. “As with so many companies, we evaluate our needs in circumstances much changed by the Covid-19 pandemic. We now have almost all of our bookstores reopened and must align our head office requirements to our store priorities.”
According to Shelf Awareness, among the buyers not returning are literary fiction buyer Sessalee Hensley and science fiction/fantasy and graphic novels buyer James Killen.
While the majority of its outlets were closed, B&N completed a refurbishing of its stores which involved not only adding new fixtures and moving bookcases and furniture but "working through all our book categories. We aim, to the best of our abilities, to direct an appropriate allocation of space and the best possible backlist assortment," CEO James Daunt wrote to employees this spring.
B&N also confirmed that it has not begun in-store events yet, and will continue to hold virtual events.