Borders Group, the Ann Arbor-based bookstore chain, announced last week that it will be closing most of its secondary stores like Waldenbooks, Borders Express, and Borders Outlet stores, including the Borders Express in the Briarwood Mall.
The company also announced that it will be laying off 1,500 workers.
Out of 330 current mall-based stores, 200 will be closed. The stores will remain open for the holiday season and are expected to be shut down by the end of January, according to Borders spokeswoman Mary Davis.
The list of locations slated to close is not final and could change, according to a news release. The closures do not include any of the chain’s superstores, including the Ann Arbor location on East Liberty Street.
Store closings are nothing new for Borders’ smaller stores — 112 Waldenbooks, Borders Express and Borders Outlet stores were closed last year. Between 2001 and 2007, an average of 66 stores were closed annually nationwide, according to the press release.
“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,” Borders Group CEO Ron Marshall said in a statement.
Davis refused to say why, in particular, the Briarwood Mall store is being closed or how many employees will lose their jobs.
“There are a variety or reasons that we don’t go into detail on and we’re not disclosing specific reasons,” she said.
She added that the cuts will help the company remain competitive with other booksellers like Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.
“Our goal is to emerge with a smaller, more profitable, mall-based business.”
Davis said the company is eliminating mostly part-time jobs, adding that the company will try to find some of the affected employees new jobs within Borders Group.
Those who do not receive new jobs will receive a severance package. According to a statement, Borders employs around 25,000 people.
Employees at the Briarwood store earlier this week refused to comment when asked about the store’s closure.