Saturday, January 31, 2009

Store Closings (Updated)

I have a tickler that sends me news items on various topics and one of these is news related to Borders. In the past two months or so, the citations listing store closings has become a torrent of store retrenching. Having announced earlier in 2007 that they would step up their store closings, the company appears to have accelerated this effort. Most of these closing are the Walden Books stores which has been a problematic store concept for some time and which the economy has only made worse.

In places like Lexington, MA and Great Falls, MT, Walden/Borders are leaving locations where their stores represent the only identifiable book store brand. Some people are upset and have started letter writing campaigns but the news of specific closings arrives so fast the community can't possibly organize fast enough. Truth is, no amount of community concern is going to trump simple economics. Sadly, other than in a few isolated cases, staff have not been offered work in other stores. Not only are there no other stores to move the staff to, but the Walden epidemic is often collected in news stories about other store brands shutting down in the same neighborhood or mall.

My incomplete list of closings noted just during January includes the following:

(Where is all this inventory going?)


Tippecanoe Mall, Lafayette Indiana
Logonsport Mall, Indiana
Stroud Mall, Penn
Volusia Mall, Daytona Beach, FL
Wyoming Valley Mall, Wilkes Barre, PA
Kenwood Town Center, Cinn, OH
Inland Center Mall, San Bernadino, CA
Sandberg Mall, Gailsburg, IL
Gainsville, FL
Contana Mall, B/Rouge, LA
Regency Mall, Racine, WI
Lexington, MA
Birlington Mall, Vermont
Greendale Mall, Worcester, MA
Sq One Mall, Saugus, MA
DeSota Sq Mall, Sarasota, FL
Prince of Orange Mall, SC
Bradenton, FL
Pompono Beach, FL
Tampa, FL
Orlando, FL
South Plains Mall, Lubbock, TX
Miller Hill Mall, Deluth MN
Clarion Mall, Clarion PA
Town Mall, Elizabethtown, KY
Marshall Town Center, IA
Holiday Village Mall, Great Falls, MT
Southridge Mall, Des Moines IA.

Borders Express:
Springfield, IL
Lahaina Mall, HI
Whalers Village, HI

Tower Place Mall, Cinn, OH

Mill Avenue, Tempe AZ
Kemper Road, Springdale,OH
Compuware Bld (Downtown) Detroit, MI
Vero Beach Fashion Outlets, FL

Bonnie Schmick the Borders spokes person that each local reporter speaks to must be pretty depressed having to field all these calls.

(There are some misspellings in that list - apologies).


The NYTimes notes the decline of shopping Malls in a weekend article: NYTimes

I also posted my own view a few months ago in Death of the Big Box


The Brillig Blogger said...

nothing new here. It was in 2007 that Borders announced plans for an aggresive reduction in store count on the Walden front to around 350 from 550-600, and this list of closings looks like a lot less than if you'd done this same thing a year ago. Borders also closed more of their superstores right after the holidays a year ago (7 or 8 at least) than this year.

The Brillig Blogger said...

& the superstore closing list includes Gaithersburg, MD and Sacramento CA stores for this year. A Borders Outlet store like Vero Beach should technically be included in the Waldenbooks list since those aren't actual Borders superstores and would be in the "Specialty Retail" category corporately with the airport and mall stores.

& for whatever it's worth, Borders did take over the Olsson's location in National Airport in DC.

Anonymous said...

As a retailer and business person, I predict that in this economy only one big specialty chain store will survive per concept. (Note I said BIG SPECIALTY chain store.)

Linen's & Things did not, Bed, Bath & Beyond did. Circuit City did not. Best Buy did. There are numerous examples out there and I'm afraid Borders will be yet another...

Hope I'm wrong. Afraid, I'm not.

Bully said...

Where is all this inventory going? Well, after the closing store sales are over, the excess inventory is probably going back to the publishers: trade bookstore sales are for the most part returnable to the publisher for credit. This can be a serious and sometimes fatal economic blow to small publishers facing an inrush of unsold, often damaged inventory during the first quarter of the year.

Ian Krantz said...

I'm sad to report that the Borders at the top of Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia is closing the 2nd week of January. It was orginally a Bassetts, and was not big enough to become a superstore, but it once was a vibrant hub in the community. But times have changed, both in terms of online sales, the advent of the Kindle and, perhaps most importantly the growth of alternative cafes in the area that were places to meet and chat or coffee (a Starbucks and at least 5 good independent cafes that I can think of in Chestnut Hill/Mt. Airy.

Happily there is a new and quite decent independent bookstore in nearby West Mt. Airy (Blue Marble), close to other community hubs (Weavers Way Food Coop and High Point Cafe). If I go to a less than comprehensively stocked Borders, and am told they can order it for you, I'd prefer to order it online or give Blue Marble the business. Also, this Borders location was not large enough to accomodate a CD/DVD department,which allowed an independent CD/Vinyl music shop (Hideaway Music) to flourish.

Another related observation: Amazon knows who their core customers are and appear to know how to service them. I just heard read that for every 100 copies of a physical bestseller that Amazon sells, 48 are sold on Kindle. And Kindle and it's kin are still very early on in their adoption curve. My wife is in love with her Kindle 2, and now buys the books for her reading group on her Kindle, never needing to go to ANY bookstore, unless it's only available in print. And if it's only in print, she can get it discounte from Amazon with 2-day free shipping now that my trial Amazon Prime membership just went paid. For a heavy reader/buyer, $70/year all-you-can eat free 2-day shipping, with no minimum order (+ overnight for $6.99) is not a bad deal at all. (By the way, i signed up for the trial, to get my ipod Nano the next day for only $6.99.)

I drifted from the topic a bit, but I believe it's relevant as a nail in this Borders (and likely others) Borders location). It does seem that if there is one Super/Big Box Bricks & Mortar Store to survive in the books category, it will be Barnes & Noble. And of course, all these survivors have their online components as well. And B&N now his it's Nook for e-book shopping and reading as well as a better Starbucks fueled nook for coffee, chat and tasting books offline.

And back on topic, from recent visits it appears that the Borders Express locations in the Liberty Place shops and the Willow Grove Malls are also on their last days, with everything must go signs in the windows.

Ian Krantz said...

Happy New Year, Michael!

A correction to my comment that is still awaiting moderation: Annual cost of Amazon Prime is actually $79, not $70 as i indicated. Still worth it (easy to say now that I paid for it!)

By the way, I always resisted checking into what Amazon Prime was until the iPod Nano purchase episode because the name sounded omininously like "Optimus Prime", one of the names of the characters from Transformer 1.0 days. I remember my son Emanuel having a toy 12 Wheel Trailer Rig Transformer that had a button on it and when you pressed it, it tinnily bellowed "I am Optimus Prime!"

Hope to catch up in the New Year!