Barnes & Noble Rebounds as Doubts Emerge About Amazon Stores

Barnes & Noble Inc. shares soared 14 percent after a shopping-mall executive stepped back from a claim that Amazon.com Inc. is planning to open hundreds of physical bookstores.

The rally sent the stock up $1.02 to $8.35 on Thursday following two days of steep declines -- spurred by concern that Amazon would challenge Barnes & Noble directly on its brick-and-mortar turf.

The episode began on Tuesday, when General Growth Properties Inc. Chief Executive Officer Sandeep Mathrani said that Amazon planned to open 300 to 400 bookstores. Though Amazon does operate a physical outlet in Seattle, the e-commerce giant has never expressed a desire for such a large brick-and-mortar footprint.

Though Amazon declined to comment on the matter, Mathrani made a fresh statement on Wednesday, saying the original remark “was not intended to represent Amazon’s plans.” By then, Barnes & Noble shares had plunged more than 14 percent over two days.

Thursday’s rebound marked the stock’s biggest single-day gain in almost three years. Still, the shares remain down about 4 percent this year.

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