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Food & Drink

Barnes & Noble tries to win back Amazon customers with beer and wine at new stores

Is the booze the answer to saving a flailing business?

Barnes & Noble-- the country's largest brick-and-mortar retailer of books-- hopes so.

On Thursday, the book giant announced that it will open four new concept stores this year with an expanded made-to-order food menu that includes beer and wine.

“Our new cafes will be a major commitment to hospitality and will contribute a larger percentage of sales in our stores,” said Jaime Carey, president of the company’s new restaurant group, at an investor day meeting on Thursday.

The first cafe-meets-book store will open in Eastchester, NY in October, reports the New York Post.

Unlike traditional bookstore coffee shops, customers at the new Barnes & Noble shops can be served by a bartender at a counter or sit at a table and order from a full menu covering breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The Eastchester store will also have an outdoor fire pit and a bocce court.

The bookstore also announced the opening of three other locations of the still-unnamed bar-restaurants — in Edina, Minn., Folsom, Calif., and Loudon, Va.

The bookstore has made changes in the development and layout of the store by promoted chief operating officer Jaime Carey to president of development & restaurant group, a position that oversees the new bookstore concept.

Long-time Sears executive Michael Ladd also became the new vice president of stores last year, but Barnes & Noble sales still dropped 4 percent in 2015 and sales of the NOOK e-reader-- the store's answer to Amazon's Kindle-- have continued to fall. 

Barnes & Noble hopes the test concept of pairing booze with books will offer a unique in-store experience the web giant can't deliver.