Books-A-Million to close at Bridgewater Falls

Books-A-Million at the Bridgewater Falls Lifestyle Shopping Center in Fairfield Twp. will close March 15, according to the company.

Birmingham, Ala.-based Books-A-Million Inc. says it’s the nation’s second largest book retailer via brick-and-mortar and online sales, with more than 250 stores in 31 states and Washington, D.C.

The Butler County book store slated to close is located at 3385 Princeton Road, Suite 100, in Fairfield Twp. Store manager Dave Ireton referred questions to the company’s corporate office.

There is a going-out-of-business sale until the closing date, said Christine Corbitt, a spokeswoman for Books-A-Million, in an email confirming the closure. Customers can use their gift cards online at www.booksamillion.com or any other Books-A-Million or Books & Co. stores, Corbitt said. However, Books-A-Million gift cards cannot be used at 2nd & Charles stores.

Property managers of Bridgewater Falls declined to comment about the impact of the store closing. Books-A-Million opened at Bridgewater Falls in December 2005.

Customer Deborah Lease of Oxford was sad to learn of the closing as she shopped the store on Monday, Feb. 17. She said she visits Books-A-Million at Bridgewater Falls maybe five times a year.

“It’s always sad when a book store closes,” said Lease, a schoolteacher for the Talawanda School District. “It’s just that act of going into a bookstore and touching the books and perusing… it’s that personal choice.”

“It’s changed,” Lease said. “It’s all the Internet now instead of going to book stores.”

The national book store operator is facing financial challenges, reporting a growing net loss in its most recent earnings report. For the first three quarters of the company’s fiscal year ending Nov. 2, 2013, Books-A-Million had a net loss of $19.75 million, compared to negative earnings of $5.6 million the same time period the year before.

In a conference call last November to discuss financial results, an investor asked whether the company would accelerate the downsizing of the bookstore business or stick with a strategy to keep open stores that had positive cash flow. Books-A-Million Chief Financial Officer R. Todd Noden responded that stores were still being evaluated based on cash flow.

“We evaluate that cash flow performance of those stores, and we also look and have various new opportunities and we’ll evaluate those. And based on their cash flow performance and their return on investment, we’ll make a decision that we feel is in the best interest of the shareholders,” Noden told investors in the Nov. 26 conference call.

Books-A-Million also operates stores under the names Books & Company and 2nd & Charles. A manager at the Beavercreek Books & Co. said their store at The Greene shopping center is not slated to close. Also, the manager of a 2nd & Charles location in Kettering’s Town & Country Shopping Center said their store will remain open as well.