Borders begins liquidation sales at all stores

July 22, 2011
photo - Going-out-of-business signs filled the windows at the Broadmoor Towne Center Borders location Friday morning. Photo by ANDREW WINEKE, THE GAZETTE
Going-out-of-business signs filled the windows at the Broadmoor Towne Center Borders location Friday morning. Photo by ANDREW WINEKE, THE GAZETTE 

Going-out-of-business sales began Friday at all of Borders' 399 stores, according to a spokesman for one of the companies charged with liquidating the nation's second-largest bookstore chain.

A group led by Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Retail Partners began the process of selling off Borders' merchandise and furniture at all stores, said Gordon Brothers spokesman Craig Venezia.

Sales are being held at 259 Borders superstores, 114 Borders Express and Waldenbooks, and 26 Borders airport stores. Borders has two locations in Colorado Springs, one at Chapel Hills Mall and the other at the Broadmoor Towne Center, 2120 Southgate Road.

At the Broadmoor Towne Center location Friday morning, a steady stream of customers worked their way through a construction zone to reach the closing store. Banners announced prices were 10 to 40 percent off and that "Everything must go."

"I'll miss the store," said Linda Zallaha as she walked out carrying a bag with seven books in it.

"I'm sad to see it close. People are going to e-readers."

Linda Mearns also showed up to check out the sale. She said she was a regular shopper at the location.

"Last week, we were here just to buy books," she said. "It's so convenient."

Regina Meyer said there wasn't another bookstore nearby.

"Books, that's my Calgon moment," she said. "That's my getaway."

Gordon Brothers says more than $700 million of the company’s inventory, including books, stationery, music and movies, will be sold.

Store fixtures, furnishings and equipment, including shelving and, in some cases, café equipment, will also be sold off.

Some stores may remain open as Books-A-Million stores. That chain is bidding for leases and assets of 30 Borders stores. None of those stores is in Colorado.

Regardless of whether a deal is reached, the vast majority of Borders' stores will close, leaving retail holes in many major shopping hubs. Borders plans to conduct a separate auction process to find takers for as many of its leases as possible.

Borders' store at the Chapel Hills Mall in Colorado Springs was about 25,000 square feet on two levels. Chapel Hills general manager David Moss said new mall owners Coyote Management LP and Garrison Investment Group had planned for Borders' closing before they bought the property June 1.

"The book industry has been such that you really don't know what's going to happen with it because it's been in such turmoil for so long," Moss said.

Moss said he doesn't expect a problem filling the Borders space. The retailer's location is highly visible and in a prominent, well-trafficked location -- between Sears and a common-area mall entrance and facing a portion of the mall parking lot where more than 1.5 million people park each year, he said.

As part of Borders' bankruptcy, the mall's owners will seek to gain control of the space and lease it, Moss said. The owners hope to find a single retailer who's new to the area to take the space, although multiple tenants also might be considered, he said.

"The options are open, but we want something that's going to make a statement," Moss said. 

Borders filed for bankruptcy protection in February after being hurt by tough competition from online booksellers and discounters.

It hoped to successfully emerge from bankruptcy protection by the fall as a smaller and more profitable company, but pressure from creditors and lenders eventually led the chain to put itself up for sale and, finally, seek approval to liquidate.

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