Ole Miss Barnes & Noble : Keeping the Business Afloat

While the age of print may be declining as a whole, Barnes and Noble is staying relevant as a company due to their college bookstores.

According to a press release from the company, their college revenue suffered a -.6 percent decrease from the third quarter of 2013, to the third quarter of 2014.  But, the company’s EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) has increased by 3.9 percent.

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(http://www.barnesandnobleinc.com/press_releases/2_26_14_bn_fy2014_3q_results.htm)

The third quarter felt the increase with the approaching of Spring semester for college kids.  “With students returning to class for the spring semester, higher margins helped college earnings rise 3.9 percent to $35 million dollars,” said Forbes.com on their website.

According to the Ole Miss branch of the store, they are still going strong.  “…unfortunately I can not speak of the business aspect of it [sales] other than we have had a good year and we hope that we, Barnes and Noble on the Ole Miss campus, continue to be able to serve the faculty, students, and the community as the number one bookstore,” said Laurie Woo, manager at the Barnes and Noble on Campus.

So why do college campus Barnes and Noble do so well?  With the rise of tablets, you would think that students would be switching over to digital editions.  Here at Ole Miss, that proves to not be the case, and students seem to always be purchasing their texts for class.

“I’ve never bought an e-edition of a book, it just doesn’t work for me, I need a book I can physically highlight and touch, basically something I can destroy,” said senior Sam Johnson

Destroying these books may not be an economical decision for these students.  Barnes and Noble makes a great deal on these books, adding hugely to the company’s profit.  For example, look at “Biology : The Essentials.”  This is a highly purchased book with non-biology majors.  At the Ole Miss Bookstore, the book can be purchased for $107.40 -143.20.  At an online booksellers, such as Amazon.com, the book can be purchased used for as little as $85.00.

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Yet, many professors give students the opportunity to buy an e-edition of a book.

“I do give my students the option to buy the hard copy, an e-version, or even to buy NO copy because we have a hard copy on reserve at the library,” said professor of biology, Dr. Tiffany Bensen, via email.

Some teachers are not concerned about cost.  Most professors choose books solely on their needs, and they leave it up to students to find the best deals on their texts.

“In the biology for non-majors classes, there are several of us teaching the class and we all use the same book, so it’s a group decision which book to use.  In that sense, we choose the book that we all agree is best for the class, with little regard to the cost,” said Bensen.

For many editions of books, the e-edition of a book is much cheaper.  Also, e-editions may be more convenient.  But for many students, as Johnson mentioned above, the use of an e-edition can be distracting and not beneficial.

If students can get books cheaper in other locations, why do they pay the extra?  One reason is convenience.

“I’m from the east coast, and honestly trying to pack my stuff was enough of a hassle, I didn’t need to worry about books too.  I mean if you can buy them on campus, why wouldn’t you?” said freshman Mackenzie Hines.

It is no secret that the print industry has been struggling for the past few years.  During this time, Barnes and Noble in particular has been under scrutiny for their decrease in sales, and many believe that the the Nook is the only thing saving them.

This in fact is inaccurate.  According to an article by Bloomberg Business Week, “Device sales dropped more than 50 percent, to $157 million, in the quarter, and digital content sales dropped 27 percent.”

This statistic is proving to be accurate with the amount of Ole Miss students still purchasing the hard copies of books.

Barnes and Noble on campus also is able to make a profit off other products.  The store offers school merchandise, ranging from clothing to game day face stickers.  They also sell school supplies.  These include cheap items, such as pens and pencils, and more expensive items, like calculators.

(Clip from Alex Able, a freshman at Ole Miss)

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Oxford To Gain New Business

Starting in Fall 2015, Oxford, Mississippi may not seem as such a small town with the addition of Oxford’s Galleria, including a new Marshalls.

According to the Oxford Business journal, a new addition to the galleria will start being constructed for $35 million. The addition will be bringing more revenue and jobs to the town.

Marshalls department store was founded in 1956, in Boston. Currently, there are stores in 48 states. Yet, Mississippi only offers three, located in South Haven, Jackson, and D’Iberville.

Marshalls’ mission is to have shoppers “never pay full price for fabulous,” according to their website. The only other discount clothing store in Oxford is Goodwill, which is not designer or new. The closest in price range to Marshalls is J.C Penny, but the store does not carry many high end designers.

The store will be a huge hit with college kids. Not only does the department store carry clothing items, but also shoes, and accessories. They also carry house hold items and home décor. This is perfect as most upperclassman students live off campus in apartments. With the number of out- of-state students, the need for these household items is huge, since no one wants to lug kitchen wear across the country.

Many college students are excited about the new business in town. Firstly, there will be more to choose from when shopping. Since Oxford is a college town, most college students are on a budget.

“I am so excited for Marshall’s to open, there’s no where cheap to shop, all the stores on the square are super expensive,” said Freshman Megan Ferguson.

Styles at Marshalls never stay the same for long, and students always have a need to shop. A good deal of students on campus are involved with Greek life, and between swaps or formals, they always are looking for a specific style at a good deal.

“There are themed parties almost every weekend, and I’m going to two formals this year. I don’t have time for a job with my major so I’m always looking for good deals on clothes,” said pre-pharmacy student Alex Dorris.

Not only will the community have more shopping options in town, but also job opportunities. Many students are looking for part time jobs. The store would be right across the street from campus, making it convenient for college students to work part time. According to jobs2career.com, the store is already hiring for part and full time positions.

“I am definitely going to apply, I’m trying to make as much money as possible to save for school, plus it’s so close to campus, the commute would be nothing,” said sophomore Neil Harrington.

The price range of Marshalls is definitely the most appealing to the community. Shopping at stores on the square can cost you a pretty penny. At the boutique “Material Girls”, on the square, a simple tank top will cost you $35. Marshalls sells designer shirts for under ten dollars, depending on brans. This is going to create a great deal of competition for the boutiques on the square.

“I will not be paying a hundred dollars for a formal dress from a boutique any more. No, not if I can get it at Marshalls for a better price,” said Kelsey Downie, a frequent shopper of MisBehavin on the square.

The location of the new galleria addition is key for the students as well. Currently, the O.U.T bus runs every five minutes to and from the Jackson Avenue center. It would only be a short walk for the students to go on over.

The store will not only be good for the students, but for the town itself. The store will bring in revenue for Oxford, as well as creating new jobs. Also, this is away for the town to modernize. While the square may keep up with the trends fashion wise, it has an old time Southern feel. With the new Galleria, the main street will seem more modernized and up to date with other towns in the state.

Marshalls offers men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing and accessories, as well as house wear, which makes the business appealing to every one in town.

SoundCloud Snippet With Sarah Bradley, Freshman At Ole Miss :

Sources:

Material Girls : http://shopmaterialgirls.com/bluehaltertop.aspx

http://media.marshallstjmaxx.com/home/about

http://media.marshallstjmaxx.com/home/contact

Alex Taylor = 212-704-4509

Mara Hershkowitz = 212-642-7756

jobs2career.com

Oxford Business Journal: http://msbusiness.com/businessblog/2014/01/14/developer-sets-fall-2015-opening-oxfords-galleria-ii/

Retail In Oxford : What Makes Us Thrive

Oxford, Mississippi has been a mecca for literary and educational activity, yet in recent years Oxford has become an area of flourishing retail, bringing great profit to the town.

To most, Oxford, Mississippi is the home of Ole Miss. With only about 20,000 residents, it is a small town, with the population dipping down during summer vacation. Yet, this small town is packed with retail areas. Currently, there are over 20 shops just in the central square alone. These locations range from boutiques to gift shops, appealing to a wide demographic of shoppers.

Shopping in Oxford provides almost 12% of Lafayette County’s revenue, according to the Economic Development Foundation. This statistic is neck and neck with other popular occupations such as farming and mining. This fact suggests that retail is a main source of revenue for the county of Lafayette. In turn, retail may be slowly taking over more traditional occupations in the county.

This bustling business brings a great deal of employment to the county. According to Oxford’s Economic Development Foundation, over 11% of Lafayette County’s population is employed in the retail industry. This factors in both part time and full time employees. They also stated that the city of Oxford alone employs 340 people in retail, part of the almost 2,000 retail workers in the county.

This expansion of employment in the town is still growing. According to careerbuilder.com, there are currently 11 retail jobs available in Oxford. With the addition of new stores and expansions happening frequently in town, Oxford’s revenue, and employment opportunities will only continue to grow.

Expansion of the actual retail areas in Oxford is also occurring. According to the Mississippi Business Blog, a $35 million galleria is being added on Jackson Avenue. This will add more stores that will be able to make a profit. Also, more employment opportunities will be added for citizens of Oxford.

These stores in Oxford give way to a huge demographic for employment. With the large amount of college students in the area, stores hire many young adults part time. Yet, they are also able to provide employment opportunities for older full time workers.

Stores are perhaps the biggest source of entertainment in Oxford. With the town being so small, many people spend their time either out to eat, or shopping on the square. About half of the University of Mississippi’s students are female, and many of them spend time spending their money.

“I go shopping all the time, it’s a bad habit but there are so many cute places to go,” said college freshman Rosalee Severino.

Many of the stores on the square are boutiques, making them a bit pricier than your average department store, and in turn, creating more revenue. For example, according to their website, sweaters at Misbehavin, a shop on the square, range from $52.00 to $125.00. These prices may seem a bit much for an average college student, but not the Ole Miss community. Many citizens will pay a hefty price on the latest styles.

“First semester I spent an upwards of $200.00 shopping,” said freshman Caitlin Rowan.

Business most certainly fluctuates during football season. Girls take pride in their elaborate outfits for game day, many spending a great amount on their ensembles at the square. Not only do clothing stores make money off this season, but the accessory shops have a raise in revenue, selling shoes and jewelry to women for game day.

“I probably spent around $50.00 on each of my Grove dresses, maybe even more,” said freshman Sarah Brettin.

Men also take part in the game day traditions, increasing revenue during game days.

Shopping is a driving force in Oxford, during game season or not. It provides employment for many and pumps money into the economy.

Sources:

Economic Development Foundation : http://economic.oxfordms.com/

Number of jobs : careerbuilder.com

Prices At Misbehavin : http://missbehavinonline.com/

Rosalee Severino, Caitlin Rowan, Sarah Brettin : These girls are all freshman at Ole Miss. I picked a couple random girls from my classes to interview and ask about their shopping habbits.

Mississippi Business Blog : http://msbusiness.com/businessblog/2014/01/14/developer-sets-fall-2015-opening-oxfords-galleria-ii/