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George Jones explains the synergies between online and offline retail.

Question: Will brick and mortar survive?

George Jones: Oh, I absolutely believe that Brick and Mortar has its place in the universe and is going to be around forever and then the Internet is certainly an option and it can certainly be a very good option for people in buying the categories we sell in terms of books, music, DVDs, etc. i believe in the Internet. I believe in online retailing. That's the reason that we just took back our e-commerce business from Amazon after seven years and just re-launched our Web site,, recently, and we think we have great opportunity in that area. However, we know that customers like the bookstore experience. There is--they have had the option of shopping online already and we have really--heavy readers are a lor of our major customers and they certainly understand the options out there, yet they will come in our stores and spend almost an our in our stores, and that's because they like the experience that they have in our bookstore. I was one of those people myself as a customer before I ever took the job, before I decided to come here, would go to the cafe and you get some--you'd get a cup of coffee and you browse a little bit and you might have a specific book you're looking for or not. You may just be browsing and find things. You can look at magazines, listen to some music and you buy a few things along the way. One of the key things that we're trying to do is take advantage of that where you have the customer who's just browsing through the store by selling them more, and I think a lot of it can be accomplished through improvement in our merchandise presentation, our emphasis on key items, impulse items, this type of thing, and I think we've made nice progress in that area.


Recorded on: 6/18/08