Indigo Books and Music is on a downward trajectory and has suffered financial losses in the past few quarters. Indigo Books & Music reported a net loss of $22.4 million in its second quarter, down from $15.9 million a year earlier. The company is not in good shape; they have suffered several executive changes and a massive cyberattack that downed its systems for over a month. It would be in everyone’s best interest to sell the company to a hedge fund, such as Elliot, who owns Barnes and Noble and Waterstones. The executive team seems incapable of making the necessary changes to drive up the share price and be consistently profitable.
On a Wednesday call to discuss the company’s second quarter, chief executive Heather Reisman mentioned the plan has short- and long-term initiatives. Still, she offered no specifics beyond saying it is meant to “fully re-energize our connection to our customers.” We have a journey ahead of us,” Reisman said. “However, I’m confident we will return Indigo to growth and profitability.”
When asked for specifics about the plan, Indigo spokeswoman Melissa Perri replied that the company would have more details in the coming months. This does not sound too inspiring. Yes, we have a plan, no really; please believe us!
The executive team at Indigo is in utter and complete turmoil. CEO Reisman retired from the business in August, turning it over to Peter Ruis, a retail executive with experience at John Lewis, Anthropologie and Jigsaw, who left Indigo in September. The company never provided a public explanation for his departure. Reisman returned to the chief executive role soon after.
Around the same time, Andrea Limbardi, Indigo’s president and a 21-year company employee, also left. Four of Indigo’s ten directors later left the board, with Dr. Chika Stacy Oriuwa attributing her resignation to a “loss of confidence in board leadership” and “mistreatment.”
I don’t think the bookseller will ever turn things around. Their online e-commerce system is not very good; it takes a couple of days or weeks for a new book to be shipped. Most Canadians I know buy print books from Amazon and have them delivered the same day or the next day. It is cheaper to buy books from Amazon than on the store shelves, which have to sell books at a higher price. I don’t believe that Indigo can turn things around in their current form; they seem landlocked in Canada and refuse to expand into other countries; they have a single US store and no plans to open new ones. Canada is too small of a market to drive meaningful revenue.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.