Indigo Books & Music Inc. is looking to expand outside Canada in the hope that opening new stores elsewhere could help deliver stronger results across its broadening range of products.
Chief executive Heather Reisman said Tuesday that the company plans to launch brick and mortar stores outside of the country in about two years, though she declined to say which markets the retailer is considering.
The book seller has been trying to boost its profitability by stocking more high-margin products, such as gifts, toys and lifestyle items, in effort to adapt to shifting consumer trends, a plan that will expand to a rebranding of some sections of its stores.
Mini-shops to be part of larger stores
Indigo said it will revamp many of its large-format stores to include specialized smaller shops focused on in-house brands like Indigo Kids, Indigo Tech and Indigo Home.
"The new physical format store will feel like you can meander through a series of shops, each one anchored by books," said Reisman.
The "store within a store" concept has been growing in popularity with large retailers. Box stores like Best Buy, for example, have been partnering with tech giants like Apple, Microsoft and Samsung to create in-store kiosks with specialized sales staff.
Indigo also said on Tuesday that it has made a deal with Apple and will begin selling products such as iPads and Apple TV in 40 stores in 2014.
Booksellers have been struggling lately as consumers shift from physical books to digital reading.
U.S. retailer Barnes & Noble reported Monday that its loss more than doubled in the latest quarter as its Nook e-book reader continued losing money and sales plummeted at its bookstores.
Indigo recorded an $8.2-million loss for the quarter ended March 30, compared with a profit of $125 million a year ago when the company sold its stake in Kobo Inc., a maker of e-readers, to Rakuten.
Not abandoning books
E-book sales made up 15 per cent of the of the overall book market in Canada in 2012, according to a report by BookNet Canada.
However, Reisman said books will continue to be the cornerstone of Indigo's business.
"Books will remain at the heart and soul of this company, and as long as there are people on the planet who want to buy physical books, we are deeply committed to physical books, both in store and online," she said.
Indigo operates under several banners including Indigo Books, Chapters, the World's Biggest Bookstore and Coles.