The country's second-largest brick and mortar book retailer, Borders Group, is closing 200 of its mall-based Waldenbooks stores in January. As a result, approximately 1,500 positions--the majority of which are part-time jobs--will be eliminated.
Borders has been whittling down its Waldenbooks chain since 2001, closing an average of 66 stores per year through 2007. In 2008, 112 stores were closed. Following the January 2010 closures, Borders will have 130 Waldenbooks stores remaining.
The typical Borders superstore is much larger than the Waldenbooks format -- about 25,000 square feet compared to Waldenbooks 3,900-square-foot average store size. At this average size, 200 Waldenbooks stores going dark would create about 776,000 square feet of vacant mall space.
"America has a number of malls that continue to do well and draw customer traffic even in the current economy," said Borders Group Chief Executive Officer Ron Marshall. "We believe there remains an opportunity to profitably operate a much smaller Waldenbooks segment that complements our core Borders superstore business. 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."
Waldenbooks was founded in 1933 by Lawrence Hoyt as a rental library in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Fifteen years later, Hoyt had 250 locations and in 1962, opened his first traditional book store, growing to have locations in every state by 1981. In 1984, Waldenbooks was acquired by Kmart and in 1994, was acquired by Borders.
This article appears in CoStar's Retail News Roundup: Nov. 8 - 14, 2009
This week in the Retail Roundup, CoStar reports on expansions or new concepts
at Sports Fan Attic and Bajio Mexican Grill; closings, cutbacks, defaults, or bankruptcy news
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