Thursday, February 17, 2011

Borders' story isn't finished yet

I'm a huge fan of independent bookstores (such as local gems Wellington Square Bookshop, Trappe Book Center, Gently Used Books and Chester County Book & Music Co.).

That said, I'm also drawn to the superstores - the Borders and Barnes & Noble behemoths - with their built-in full-size coffee bars, strategically situated comfy reading chairs, vast selection of newspapers and magazines from all over the world, live music (sometimes) and college library's worth of titles to choose from ... not to mention cool stationery and gifty items for sale.

Borders - a national chain that's been in business for 40 years - was one of the first large corporations to introduce the book superstore, and yesterday the company announced it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will soon be closing a third of its stores - 200 of 642 total.

In this corner of the world, that means the end of the 25,000-square-foot store across from the Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing, and the 25,000-square-foot store in The Court at King of Prussia.

Fortunately, for Pottstown - at least so far - the Borders Express store in the Coventry Mall as well as all Borders Express stores are not part of the divestiture.

The Philadelphia area in general fared pretty well in keeping (not losing) a lot of Borders stores, at least according to Philadelphia Business Journal blogger Peter Van Allen in his post "Closed Borders: It could have been worse"

Today, talk has, of course, turned to the clearance sales at the stores that are closing. The Associated Press reports that these kick off Saturday. Perhaps a little shopping is in order ...

A bankruptcy judge today approved "Borders Group Inc.'s plan to close 200 stores as part of its attempt to attempt to fix its business in bankruptcy protection," AP Business Writer Mae Anderson writes.

The company, which is the nation's No. 2 bookseller, plans to emerge a leaner and meaner machine by using a strategy that includes "enhancing its loyalty program, aggressively expanding and its e-book market share, offering more non-book items, cut costs and improve its customer service."

A hearing to grant final approval of Borders' bankruptcy financing will be held March 15.

I hope their strategy works out.
I love a good bookstore.

No comments: