Alas poor Borders; we knew it well

Indeed, whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles… We all now know the road Borders went down, and it ain’t pretty.

Borders is soon to rid Australia of its presence.

It was once the goliath of book retailers in Australia, and after having survived only a meagre thirteen years at the fear-instilling position it did, Borders now shuts its doors in the land down under. I’m not a massive book reader, but it’s sad to see the organisations that bring us the now more and more seemingly archaic medium hit a rough and very bumpy patch.

The company’s parent organisation, RedGroup Retail went into voluntary administration on 17 February this year after a massive downturn in consumer discretionary spending, by none other than Pacific Equity Partners, the private equity fund that has owned the business since 2004.

RedGroup employed about 2500 staff throughout their 169 Angus & Robertson bookstores and 26 Borders in Australia.

But, the good (if it is?) news amidst all this is that it’s all entirely unrelated to the US market… Even though it too filed for bankruptcy in February of 2011. Clearly, it wasn’t meant to be.

The administrators picking apart the company are planning on having it completely out of action by 17 July 2011. It’s already seen the closure of 17 businesses since February, leaving a lot of people – 1759, including the staff of 56 Angus & Robertson stores – jobless since the company hit the rocks.

Basically, the company needs a cool $170 million-ish to save it from going under. It couldn’t make it – to no real surprise given the relatively recent advent of the Kindle book reader and other online/digital book-reading paraphernalia.

It all comes back to the online shopping trends, I suppose, ultimately. Consumer discretionary spending has seen book sales slump, and despite the staff’s efforts to keep the book world alive, the factors outweighing their efforts to salvage the company are too far beyond their control.

The silver lining in all this, however is of course, the online outlets of Borders and Angus & Robertson aren’t going to be affected, nor are the 56 privately owned Angus & Robertson franchise stores, so they’ll live on. Just without the corporate hoopla behind it all.

Borders sure did suffer the slings and arrows, but unfortunately, succumbed to their wretched sting.

Comments are closed.