Borders’ Bookstores were one of the biggest victims of the global economic recession that hit in 2008, but now the retail outlet is getting another chance at life.
Popular Holdings, a publisher, distributor, and retailer, has owned its own retail chain since the 1930s. However, when the company bought all of Borders’ assets and rights at auction in 2012 for $100,000, their business plans changed. No longer are they intending to keep their own store–called Prologue–open, but instead are intending to revive the Borders’ brand in Singapore.
But Popular Holdings is being smart about this. They are not just intending to close down Prologue to open up another, more popular store. Instead, they are transitioning from one great venture to the next by offering coupons to already established customers of Borders’, promising discounts in the new store if they buy from Prologue before it closes. They have also launched a new ad campaign that will hopefully draw customers to the new bookstore and to Prologue in its final weeks.
All this being said, there is also reason for skepticism. The market has undoubtedly changed with the growing importance of eBooks. It also sounds like Borders’ made a lot of business mistakes in Singapore before their popular chain closed in the country. They went from being a bookstore to selling things like toys and cookware (something they also did in the United States).
I feel it would be prudent of Borders’ new management to keep in mind that the public do not want to go to the bookstore and be overwhelmed by products they wouldn’t expect to see there. It would also be interesting to see how they deal with the ever growing demand of digital books and if they step into the market by selling eReaders.
Will this new incarnation of Borders’ thrive, or will they falter as they did only a few years ago? And what does this mean for the United States? Will we see the return of Borders’ as well? It is hard to say at this point, but as long as Popular Holdings is careful, we might be given room to feel ever so optimistic for the battle-hardened bookstore.
– Kristin Gonterman