NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Borders prepares to liquidate

Bor­ders, the sec­ond largest book­store chain in the Unit­ed States, will soon be going out of busi­ness. The com­pa­ny announced today that it had run out of time to reor­ga­nize itself and would wind down its oper­a­tions.

Bor­ders said in a news release that it will pro­ceed with a pro­pos­al by Hilco and the Gor­don Broth­ers Group. That liq­ui­da­tion plan will be pre­sent­ed to the fed­er­al judge over­see­ing the company’s bank­rupt­cy case on Thurs­day.

What is left to unwind are Bor­ders’ 399 stores, about two-thirds of the loca­tions it oper­at­ed when it filed for bank­rupt­cy in Feb­ru­ary. It cur­rent­ly has 10,700 employ­ees.

Bor­ders will begin clos­ing  its remain­ing stores as soon as Fri­day, and the liq­ui­da­tion is expect­ed to run through Sep­tem­ber.

The com­pa­ny has ten stores around Puget Sound, includ­ing one in down­town Red­mond, NPI’s home­town, and anoth­er half-dozen stores in Ore­gon’s Willamette Val­ley. Two (in Fed­er­al Way and Taco­ma) were already in the process of clos­ing, and now it looks all the oth­ers will be gone in a mat­ter of weeks.

Bor­ders’ demise will result in the loss of more than ten thou­sand jobs.

Although the Inter­net will undoubt­ed­ly be cit­ed in many Bor­ders obit­u­ar­ies as the cause of its demise, the real­i­ty is that the chain was doomed by poor man­age­ment and ques­tion­able deci­sions. It did­n’t col­lapse overnight; it’s been ail­ing for years. Half a decade has now gone by since Bor­ders had a prof­itable quar­ter.

Bor­ders could have sur­vived, if it had closed under­per­form­ing stores ear­li­er, not out­sourced its online oper­a­tions to Ama­zon, and done a bet­ter job of antic­i­pat­ing and con­trol­ling costs. But, like Cir­cuit City and Block­buster, it did­n’t make the moves that it need­ed to in order to remain a going con­cern.

To put it more suc­cinct­ly, the rise of ecom­merce is not what killed Bor­ders. Missed oppor­tu­ni­ties are what killed Bor­ders.

Adjacent posts

  • Enjoyed what you just read? Make a donation


    Thank you for read­ing The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s jour­nal of world, nation­al, and local pol­i­tics.

    Found­ed in March of 2004, The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate has been help­ing peo­ple through­out the Pacif­ic North­west and beyond make sense of cur­rent events with rig­or­ous analy­sis and thought-pro­vok­ing com­men­tary for more than fif­teen years. The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate is fund­ed by read­ers like you and trust­ed spon­sors. We don’t run ads or pub­lish con­tent in exchange for mon­ey.

    Help us keep The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate edi­to­ri­al­ly inde­pen­dent and freely avail­able to all by becom­ing a mem­ber of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute today. Or make a dona­tion to sus­tain our essen­tial research and advo­ca­cy jour­nal­ism.

    Your con­tri­bu­tion will allow us to con­tin­ue bring­ing you fea­tures like Last Week In Con­gress, live cov­er­age of events like Net­roots Nation or the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion, and reviews of books and doc­u­men­tary films.

    Become an NPI mem­ber Make a one-time dona­tion