NEW YORK CITY-Continuing in its rapid expansion mode, bookselling behemoth Barnes & Noble has signed agreements on nine superstores that will come online over the next two years.

Last week, the company, which owns 328 B. Dalton bookstores and 1,011 GameStop video game stores in addition to its 582 Barnes & Noble locations, said that it has signed leases on a 29,000-sf location in Palm Beach Gardens, FL scheduled to open in July 2003; a 23,000-sf space in Wausau, WI, scheduled for delivery next October; and a 25,000-sf property in Beaumont, TX, also slated to open in October 2002.

B&N spokesman Matthew Zoni tells the company will soon reveal that agreements are in place to open six additional stores in 2002 and 2003. Next June, B&N will open a 30,000-sf Boston store and in August, a 23,000-sf store will open in Huntersville, NC. Also in August, a 25,000-sf store will open in McAllen TX. Orlando will see the opening of a 23,000-sf store, scheduled for completion next October. Leases have also been signed in Dekalb, IL (21,000 sf) and Ithaca, NY (25,000 sf).

According to Zoni, superstores are generally around 25,000 sf and have roughly identical concessions and amenities such as food concessions and newsstands. They also devote significant space to DC, video and DVD titles.

New stores will also carry large selections of children’s books, sections devoted to local interests, Red Dot electronic music catalogues and listening stations. Each store will house a Barnes & Noble Café. In addition, customer service counters will allow buyers to arrange fulfillment through Barnes &’s delivery system.

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