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B. Dalton Bookseller Former type Subsidiary Industry Retail Fate Liquidation Founded 1966 Defunct January 2010 Headquarters Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA Number of locations 798 at peak; approx. 50 at closing Area served USA Key people Richard Hagen, president Products Books Parent Barnes & Noble (1987-2010) B. Dalton Bookseller was an American retail bookstore chain founded in 1966 by the Dayton's department store chain. Located primarily in shopping malls, B. Dalton competed primarily with Waldenbooks, and operated 798 stores at its peak. Barnes & Noble acquired the chain from Dayton's in 1987, and continued to operate it until a late-2009 announcement that the last fifty stores would be liquidated by January 2010. Contents 1 History 1.1 1980s and 1990s 2 Format 3 Software Etc. 4 References // History This section requires expansion with: More history. Dayton's, a department store chain based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, began the B. Dalton chain in 1966.[1] The name B. Dalton was chosen because it "connoted quality, dependability and authority."[1] Dalton was a spelling variation of Dayton. The first store opened in nearby Edina in August of that year, followed by a second in St. Louis, Missouri. Although the chain was originally intended to operate in downtowns and suburban areas, the majority of the stores were opened inside regional shopping malls. By 1969, Dayton's had merged with Hudson's of Detroit and became Dayton Hudson Corporation (now Target Corporation).[2] B. Dalton expanded throughout the 1960s and 1970s, going from twelve stores in 1968 to 125 five years later, peaking at 798 locations in 1986.[2] In 1968, the chain acquired Pickwick Books of California, which merged in 1979.[1] B. Dalton had stores in 43 of 50 states in 1978, and was second to Waldenbooks (then the U.S.' largest bookstore) in store numbers, but posted higher profits than its rival.[2][3] A flagship store opened in Manhattan in December 1978,[2] and between 1983 and 1986, the chain revived the Pickwick name as a discount bookstore. 1980s and 1990s A B. Dalton store in Slidell, LA a few weeks before it closed By 1986, discounting practices by rival book chains had caused declining profits for B. Dalton stores, as had the decrease in new shopping malls.[2] As a result of the declining profits, Dayton Hudson Corporation sold the B. Dalton chain to Barnes & Noble.[1][4] Under Barnes & Noble's ownership, B. Dalton acquired Scribner's of Costa Mesa, California, and began a video game store called Software, Etc. (now GameStop).[2] At the same time, the chain began closing outlets and relocating others, while opening other prototypes. By 1997, the chain had shrunk to 528 locations,[2] and continued to close many more over the next decade. In October 2009, Barnes & Noble announced that it would be closing the remaining fifty B. Dalton stores by January 2010.[5] Format Initially, B. Dalton was targeted to middle class suburban customers, with stores that featured parquet flooring and wide aisles.[2] Later on, the store switched to a mass market approach, allowing for a wider range of titles. B. Dalton was also one of the first chains to display hardcover and paperback books side-by-side.[2] B. Dalton was a long time sponsor of the PBS TV show Reading Rainbow. Software Etc. Software Etc.'s logo when launched by B. Dalton in 1986 In 1986, B. Dalton opened the first Software Etc., which sold video game and entertainment software products.[2] Software Etc. initially began operating in B. Dalton book stores but was spun off in 1987 and began focusing on standalone stores. In 1994, Software Etc. successfully merged with competitor Babbage's. In 1996, NeoStar Retail Group Inc., then owner of Software Etc. and Babbage's, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and put the two chains up for sale. By November, NeoStar had failed to find a buyer and announced in that all 707 stores owned by the company would close in the next year.[6] By November 26, the plan to close the stores were halted as NeoStar's assets were sold to an investor group led by retailer Leonard Riggio. In 1999, the newly formed Babbage's Etc. launched the GameStop chain and was sold to Barnes & Noble. The sale would reunite the Software Etc. chain with its original parent company, B. Dalton. Barnes & Noble would purchase Funco, Inc. in 2000 and merge Babbage's Etc. to become wholly owned subsidiary of Funco. Funco would change its name to GameStop, Inc. and become independent from Barnes & Noble by 2004. Since then, GameStop has phased the Software Etc. name from most stores. References ^ a b c d Laura J. Miller. Reluctant Capitalists: Bookselling and the Culture of Consumption. pp. 46–47. Retrieved 2009-10-12.  ^ a b c d e f g h i j "B. Dalton history". Funding Universe. Retrieved 2009-10-12.  ^ Martha Groves (1986-10-01). "Increasingly Competitive Industry - Dayton Hudson Places B. Dalton Up for Sale". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-10-12.  ^ Greg Burns (1986-10-01). "Dayton Hudson plans to sell B. Dalton Bookseller division". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2009-10-12.  ^ "Barnes & Noble To Shut Down All B. Dalton Stores". CBS Chicago. 2009-10-09. Retrieved 2009-10-12. [dead link] ^ Lisa Greim (1996-11-19). "BANKRUPTCY CLAIMS SOFTWARE RETAILER UNPROFITABLE NEOSTAR TO SHUT SOFTWARE ETC., OTHER STORES". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2010-01-28.