Thursday, March 05, 2009

Borders Takes Drastic Action

Earlier today Border's announced a severe reduction in in-store staff by eliminating 742 customer facing positions across their stores. While the company notes this is ' less than' 3% of their staffing the move does look to be a dire prediction of where their retail operations are going. From their press release:

Borders Group announced the elimination of 742 positions throughout its 516 Borders superstores and in a number of its 385 Waldenbooks Specialty Retail locations nationwide, effective today. This represents less than 3% of the company's total workforce.

At Borders superstores, 679 jobs were eliminated, as the company focused on reducing the number of manager and supervisor positions in its superstores. No changes were made at the general manager level -- the top position in each store -- but in the majority of Borders locations, one or two other leadership positions, such as sales managers, inventory managers, training supervisors and merchandise supervisors, were eliminated as the company resets its superstore management structure to correspond to sales volume on a store-by-store basis.

In addition to the changes at Borders superstores, the company also eliminated 63 jobs within its Waldenbooks Specialty Retail segment. Again, all store managers remain in place, but a variety of other manager and supervisor positions, as well as additional roles in approximately 47 stores within the mall-based chain, were eliminated.

Borders Group will offer transition pay and severance to all affected employees.

"Every retailer operating today must manage their business prudently, including staffing stores to maintain strong customer service levels while also making sure that payroll investments align with the reality of sales," said Borders Group Chief Executive Officer Ron Marshall. "As we've said in the past, no one likes to eliminate jobs, but reducing the number of leadership positions in our stores was a necessary step as we streamline and focus our payroll investment on the sales floor, where we actively engage with customers and meet their needs -- that's what our business is all about."

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