As part of a restructuring of its entire retail operations, MTS Inc., the parent company of Tower Records, is revamping its book group, a move that will reduce the company's presence in the book market. The company has closed or is in the process of closing several of its stand-alone bookstores and expects to have six book outlets when the closings are completed in the next few months. The company's remaining bookstores will be centered in California: three in Tower's home territory in Sacramento, one in Mountain View and a new store (which opened last Friday) in La Brea. The only store outside of California is the recently opened Richmond, Va., outlet. The company also plans to open a book superstore in Sherman Oaks in August.
In addition to cutting the number of stand-alone outlets roughly in half, Tower is downsizing the book departments in the 97 Tower Record stores that carry books. Spokesperson Louise Solomon said the record stores will maintain a "book presence," carrying a limited selection of titles. Solomon said Tower is committed to selling books, but wants the book operation to be more profitable.
Tower is implementing its companywide restructuring to boost sagging results. For the first six months of the year ended January 31, 2001, sales were off 1.5%, to $578.4 million, and the company had a net loss of $6.2 million, compared to net income of $578,000 in the first half of fiscal 2000.