NEW YORK - About 200 Barnes & Noble stores will close in the next 10 years, the company's CEO told the Wall Street Journal .
"In 10 years we'll have 450 to 500 stores," Barnes & Noble Retail Group CEO Mitchell Klipper told the Journal , who reported the company was operating 589 retail stores as of Jan. 23, 2013.
About 20 stores will close per year over that time, Klipper told the Journal .
The chain was opening about 30 stores per year until 2009, the Journal reported .
Barnes & Noble is the largest traditional U.S. bookstore operator. But it has been facing tough competition from online retailers and discounters. It has been focusing on its Nook tablet and e-book business for growth.
A spokeswoman for Barnes & Noble said Klipper's remarks don't mark any change in its store closing plan.
Its shares dropped 32 cents to $12.85 in midday trading Monday.
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The Associated Press Contributed to this Report