Will Chapters Close in Canada?
With more and more Canadians turning to online shopping it is getting harder for established chains to keep their doors open. Chapters, is one of my favorite stores. It's a bookstore with style. Started in 1996, the chain would change the landscape of the book selling business in Canada. The retailer was unique, it offered a huge volume of books, beautifully displayed in well marked areas. Couches and arm chairs were scattered about, some in front of fireplaces to encourage people to grab a book, sit, relax, and read. The atmosphere was calming, relaxing, and quaint, despite the fact that the buildings were large.
To make it even more appealing they added a Starbucks coffee shop right in amongst the books. Not only were you encouraged to grab a book and take a read, but you could grab a cup of coffee as well. They sold a large volume of books, covering every genre possible. They also had great book sales. I was never able to go to Chapters without buying more books then I needed. By encouraging customers to read a few pages, they certainly sold more books. As Chapters grew smaller book stores eventually closed their doors. They were unable to compete with the volume of books and prices that Chapters could offer.
Now, 18 years later the retail chain is having to make big changes if it wants to keep its retail doors open. While Canada is behind other developed countries when it comes to online shopping, we are turning to it more and more. Competition from places like Amazon.ca, which offers e-books and book prices just as good or better, has been forcing the Chapters chain to branch out in an effort to keep their retail doors open. The last time I stopped at Chapters, not only did they have books, but a wide variety of gift ware. While you can order Chapter's books and items online, the shipping and handling costs are high. The last time I ordered I paid just as much in shipping handling as I paid for the books. This doesn't bod well for the retail giant. Chapters employs a lot of people nationwide in their retail outlets. A closure would mean the loss of many jobs for Canadians.
Times change, the needs of the consumer change, and I'm hoping Chapters can follow along.
Image Credit » http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BayviewVillageChapters. (public domain)