The Borders book store chain has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and will close a third of its stores in the coming weeks.
We reported late last week that Borders was looking into filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The theory at the time was that the company would file early this week so that it could gain protection from publishers and other creditors, and would use the time to reorganize its internal matters such as closing a few hundred of its stores. This morning, all of that became a reality.
According a statement released by the company, the plan calls for 30 percent of its current 659 stores to be closed over the coming weeks. Which locations would be included in the closings has not been made clear yet, but the company says that the decisions will be based on “a reflection of economic conditions, cost structures and viability of locations, among other factors, and not on the dedication and productivity of the workforce in (those) stores.”
Mike Edwards, Borders Group President, said of the filing, “It has become increasingly clear that in light of the environment of curtailed customer spending, our ongoing discussions with publishers and other vendor related parties, and the company’s lack of liquidity, Borders Group does not have the capital resources it needs to be a viable competitor.”
As we noted the other day, Borders failed to have a viable digital strategy in either the form of a successful online store, or a proprietary e-reader system similar to the Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook. While its competitors focused on the future of the book trade, a model focused around convenience, Borders stuck to the aging concept of super stores across the nation. While the stores do have their place in this world still, if you are ignoring e-readers until everyone else has a massive head start, you’re just too late.
“We are confident that, with the protection afforded under Chapter 11 and with the support of employees, publishers, suppliers and creditors, and the reading public, a successful reorganization can be achieved enabling Borders to emerge from the process as a stronger and more vibrant book seller,” said Mr. Edwards. Unless there is a massive change in their company philosophy to go along with this restructuring, we’re afraid that Borders will still miss the mark.
What say you? Can Borders save itself?