How Sharon Anderson Wright revived Half Price Books' lackluster

Early last summer, Half Price Books, Records, Magazines Inc.’s revenue started flattening out noticeably. Many of the Dallas-based chain’s 115 stores were recording lower-than-usual sales increases. Others stores were staring at a flat line, and a few stores were even seeing sales dip a bit.

Sharon Anderson Wright, the company’s president and CEO, says the overall slackening of Half Price Books’ sales — caused by the lackluster economy and the ascendancy of electronic media and online sellers like Amazon — was not quite on a scale that she considered alarming. But it was noticeable and problematic, and Wright knew that she and her leadership team would have to deal with it immediately.

“It’s no secret that factors like the economy, electronic media, online sales — all of these things have been killing off a lot of the bookstores, ” Wright says. “In the past our company has been pretty recession-proof, but this has been the worst economy we’ve seen in recent history. And when you couple that with the increases in online sales and electronic media, it’s been tough. So we’ve been having to work with that.”

For virtually all of its 40-year existence and through a number of tough economic periods, Half Price Books has experienced consistent, stable growth. The company derives the lion’s share of its revenue from used merchandise — books, magazines, music, video — which it buys and resells. Dealing in used merchandise has always been a recipe for steady success, irrespective of the economy’s up and downs.

“Normally, we sail above everyone in recessions, ” Wright says. “We skate over the top of it, because everyone comes to us. We sell a good product at a good value, and we get incredible buys when people need to either make some extra cash or downsize or move. And we sell a lot of stuff when people are trying to reinvent themselves, or when they aren’t going to work every day so they have a little more time to read a book or watch a movie.

“Actually, we still are sailing above everyone, for the most part, ” she says. “It’s just at a lower overall level. Our sales are flat, where we had been having 7 to 10 percent increases every year.”

The danger signs started cropping up in June 2011.

“We were doing fine until the beginning of this past fiscal year — a year ago in June, ” Wright says. “That’s when we realized that sales were starting to go flat. The stores just weren’t doing as well as they’d always done. We’d always had increases in comparable stores, but now we were seeing that some of them were flat and some of them were down.

How Sharon Anderson Wright revived Half Price Books' lackluster sales


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  • Avatar Nathan Where can i get 8th grade math textbooks online for free?
    Jul 17, 2012 by Nathan | Posted in Primary & Secondary Education

    I want to read a little bit of my math book for next year and answer a few math problems so i can i what im doing next year. Can some one give me a web site where i can look through a 8th grade math book?

    • I'm sorry but I don't think there is a website that just give out online textbooks for free. But it depends on which company makes the textbooks if it's HOLT than you could probably find it on their website!

  • Avatar Baby G Is Drill Sargent Anybody know any good maths sites?
    Dec 18, 2008 by Baby G Is Drill Sargent | Posted in Primary & Secondary Education

    I didnt get to do math for school so maths is excluded out of my subjects and i love math anybody know any maths sites

    • For grades K to 8 try AAA Math at Algebra, and Geometry can be found at -

      You can get free online tutoring in math from Mind Sprinting at

      Your local library may also have books with math practice.

      Library Lady
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