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Posted on Thu, Nov 5, 2009 : 4:25 p.m.

Borders announces closing of 200 Waldenbooks and 1,500 job cuts

By Nathan Bomey

Borders photo.jpg

Borders is cutting 200 Waldenbooks stores, the company announced today.

File photo |

Borders Group Inc., the struggling Ann Arbor-based book store chain, is cutting 61 percent of its mall-based Waldenbooks stores and laying off 1,500 workers, company officials announced today.

Borders said it expects to close 200 of it 330 Waldenbooks stores, including the Borders Express location in Ann Arbor's Briarwood Mall. However, the list of proposed closures is not final, the company said.

“Our goal is to really emerge with a significantly smaller, more profitable Waldenbooks mall business that complements our core Borders superstore business," Borders spokeswoman Mary Davis said.

Small book stores face intense competition as major competitors - including Wal-Mart, and Barnes & Noble - engage in a price war.

"We believe there remains an opportunity to profitably operate a much smaller Waldenbooks segment that complements our core Borders superstore business and continues to serve readers in their communities," Borders Group CEO Ron Marshall said in a statement. "Through this right-sizing, we will reduce the number of stores with operating losses, reduce our overall rent expense and lease-adjusted leverage and generate cash flow through sales and working capital reductions."

The cuts, which don't affect the Borders superstores, come as Borders is navigating the tumultuous book market with few positive results. The company has cut 1,268 jobs in its Borders segment over the last two years.

Davis said 75 percent of the 1,500 Waldenbooks jobs it's cutting are part-time. Asked whether any cuts would occur at Borders' Ann Arbor headquarters, she said Borders expects "really no impact on the corporate staff."

Borders stock closed this afternoon at $2.11 per share, giving it a market cap of $127 million. Its 52-week range is 34 cents to $4.48 per share. The company employs about 25,000 workers.

Business news director Paula Gardner contributed to this report.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter.



Sat, Nov 7, 2009 : 2:31 p.m.

Waldens president became president of Borders? I am very familiar with the company & don't remember that. Can you explain that one Dr. E?


Sat, Nov 7, 2009 : 2:28 p.m.

Borders has been cutting back on unprofitable Waldens stores for years. This is a sound business decision. The company is in much better financial position than it was last year. They have made many savvy decisions including increased inventory at their Superstores including an instock guarantee and a renewed emphasis on customer service.

John Galt

Thu, Nov 5, 2009 : 10:37 p.m.

Looking at the financial statements, Borders may not survive much longer....another Michigan company. This is a depression-regardless of the media and political "spin."


Thu, Nov 5, 2009 : 9:34 p.m.

How's that Hope & Change working for everyone?

Dr. I. Emsayin

Thu, Nov 5, 2009 : 8:04 p.m.

Very sad. I remember when the Waldenbooks president became Borders president. Those were the days when bookstores valued leadership from the book business.