Books-A-Million will spend $14.7 million in the current year to open six to eight new stores and remodel 20 to 25 outlets, the company said in its year-end filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as in its annual report.
BAM's capital expenditures in 2003—when the company opened four stores and remodeled 36—were $9 million. BAM estimates that about half its 163 superstores have been remodeled since it began the program in 2002. In addition to its remodeling efforts, BAM closed nine stores last year, including three Joe Muggs newsstands, leaving the company with only four Joe Muggs outlets.
BAM executives also said they plan to keep increasing the retailer's proprietary publishing program, but provided no details. In their letter to shareholders, BAM executives said that after giving "renewed focus" to the publishing program in 2003, "the trend toward increased custom publishing was pronounced in the industry last year and we plan to continue to be competitive in this area."
The company will still buy books from publishers, of course, and the filing noted that in 2003 it acquired books from more than 500 vendors. Most of its magazines were acquired from Anderson Media, a company related to BAM, while another related company, Anderson Press, was the source for the majority of BAM's collectors' supplies.
The company also noted that profits improved last year in part due to reduced marketing costs. Because of the positive retail environment in the last half of the year, BAM was able to cut its advertising spending to $3 million for the year, down from $4 million in 2002.