By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Books-A-Million is closing its store in Tupelo. The liquidation sale starts today.
The store has been open for 15 years in Barnes Crossing Plaza, which is anchored by Hobby Lobby and Office Max.
The store includes a Joe Muggs coffee shop and an in-store Hallmark shop.
About 20 people currently work at BAM in Tupelo, according to employees who declined to give their names because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Employees couldn’t provide when the retailer’s last day in Tupelo is.
On Wednesday, the employees were directing customers to BAM stores in Corinth and Columbus. They also were boxing up books and merchandise on center displays.
The liquidation sale starts today with a 20 percent discount.
Store manager Brenda Kutcher confirmed the liquidation, but said she wasn’t authorized to disclose more details. Calls to BAM’s corporate office in Birmingham weren’t returned Wednesday.
Signs on the doors said liquidation store hours will be Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Alex Turley with CB Richard Ellis, the leasing agent for the building, said he’s already busy finding a new tenant.
He said he’s also working on deals for retail tenants in the other empty spaces in the shopping center.
He reiterated the difficult time that booksellers are having.
“It’s a tough retail category right now,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that a tenant is moving out, but it provides an opportunity to bring in a retailer that isn’t in Tupelo.”
Bookstores have faced increased pressure in recent years from online competitors and digital book sales.
Competition also increased for Books-A-Million in Tupelo when Barnes & Noble opened nearby in The Mall at Barnes Crossing in September 2008.