Borders Group, which filed for bankruptcy protection on Feb. 16, plans to close another 75 stores — that’s in addition to the 200 locations announced last month.
The Detroit Free Press reports the retail chain will use the closings as leverage in negotiations on lease terms for its 633 stores. Landlords have until Wednesday to indicate whether they’ll accept rent concessions. The closings, which could end up closer to 20 to 25 depending on the outcome of negotiations, will only affect superstores, not Borders Express or airport locations, which Borders Group President Mike Edwards said are performing well.
Meanwhile, the newspaper also reports, the retailer is expected back in federal bankruptcy court today to request more time to decide what to do with those leases. The extension is opposed by a number of Borders landlords.
Borders, the second-largest book chain in the United States, hopes to present a formal business plan to publishers and other creditors in April with an eye toward exiting bankruptcy in August or September.
When it emerges from Chapter 11, the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based bookseller is expected to be much leaner, even beyond the significant decrease in the number of locations (anywhere between 358 and 413). Edwards indicated to The Wall Street Journal that the 25,000-square-foot superstores will be reconfigured, with about 15,000 square feet reserved for books. The remaining space will be dedicated to a cafe, children’s books and educational toys, and consumer electronics. The chain may also add used books.