Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Borders Store Liquidations Underway / Barnes & Nobel Suspends Dividend

ICv2 reports that the Borders book store liquidations have begun:

"Borders has obtained court approval of its store-closing plans and has begun liquidating inventory at the 200 affected locations. DJM Realty is assisting with the store closings and lease assignments. The store closings are part of the restructuring Borders is undertaking under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Inventory liquidation on site, if successful, will reduce the amount of inventory publishers, wholesalers, and distributors can expect to get back as returns as Borders closes nearly 1/3 of its stores. Whether that’s good or bad for the individual company varies, depending on whether the receivable risk resides in the various relationships."

The Borders here in Winchester (VA), the only real bookstore in our town of 28,000 residents, is one of the stores that is on the chopping block. It's also the only retail location in our town that had any real selection of manga, so unless we decide to open an RACS retail store* here, manga fans in our area will be relegated to mail order only.

All the manga publishers and distributors are going to take big hits in varying degrees due to the Borders bankrupcy. Word on the street is that they owe Diamond Comics $3.7 Million for the few TP lines they distribute directly to the bookstore trade. Viz and TokyoPop are too small to distribute directly and thus go through middlemen to get their manga into the bookstore market, so it's hard to know the level of financial hit they are going to take, only that they are unlikely to ever see whatever monies Borders owed them at the time of the bankrupcy filing.

Borders isn't the only one having problems keeping the doors open though. The other big bookstore chain, Barnes and Nobel, has suspended the dividend to their shareholders to conserve capital:

"Barnes & Noble announced that it has eliminated its dividend to conserve capital; and will no longer give guidance for the current year, citing Borders’ Chapter 11 filing “and the potential short-term impact that their announced store closures may have in the marketplace.”

The dividend cut will allow the company to conserve capital 'to continue investing into its high growth digital strategies, while simultaneously allowing the company to take advantage of any other market opportunities that may present themselves.'"

You would think that Borders going away could only be a net positive for B&N, but they clearly have their own problems too. No matter how they 'spin' suspending their dividend to the media, that's a huge negative signal that they are not doing well cash flow wise.

Even Best Buy is no longer the shining star of entertainment retailing as can be noted here and here. The bankrupt video rental chain Blockbuster is in the process of auctioning off their worthless assets.

Any way you cut it, being a Brick and Morter retailer in the entertainment business is a tough proposition these days. Online and digital is the future.

*The prospects for an RACS retail store are unlikely. Sorry folks, I already have 2,000 headaches. Anyway, if we ever do open a big Anime retail store, it will be in Grimes, Iowa. -_^


Anonymous said...

Blockbuster, at least, deserved to fail...they were editing the movies they offered for rental, because the new owner was a religious zealot.

Nonetheless two weeks ago this finally hit home and became "real" when I walked up to see that the Barnes & Noble in NYC on the corner of Broadway and 66th street was closed down....I mean really bare, with just a crude print-out pasted on the front window saying "this location is now closed, try the one halfway across the city". Ack.

At least the Borders in the Time Warner Building at Columbus Circle seems to be staying open...they've got a pretty big comics/manga section (its even got one vertical shelf full of anime DVDs...not great selection, only new stuff is a few of the bigger FUNimations, and there are old ones with Geneon logos still on the shelf, but the fact they've got anything shows they're trying. Others stores I've been in just shoved the manga in the corner).

D2M said...

I've been hearing about Border's impending demise for at least a year now.

It's a darn shame. When I was still living in MS, they were the best in the area. I liked them better than B&N. (Waldens was my favorite though... they had a massive manga collection, before manga was "popular" enough for people to know what it was.)

After I got married, I had the worst luck with bookstores. All the places we've lived have had little to no decent ones around. After a while I just gave up and bought a Kindle. I know it's bad for bookstores, but it's great for reading. (I'm reading way more now than I use to.)

Around here we have Hastings. Fantastic store! It's like a nerd heaven there. They have books and manga and so much more. But I normally only do impulse buys there. If I want something, I skim through it, and then take a picture of it with my phone to remember the title. Then I go online to RACS and buy it.

Which is all to say that I'm one of those people that's causing the demise of stores like Borders. (Though not B&N, as I convinced my Mom to buy a Nook there.)

Robert said...

Behind the scenes there is a lot buzz among retailers in the industry journals talking about Hastings new discounting strategy. Folks are speculating that they may not be doing so well either, but I have no opinion either way as I don't have enough information. I do like their business model. I always liked browsing at Borders, but oddly, I rarely bought anything there. Of course, I hardly need a retail outlet for things like manga. :-)

I bought Jamie a Kindle last fall, and she loves it. I swear she can read 4 or 5 books in the course of a week where I can read maybe 2 a month. The only complaint that she has is that she still ends up buying paper books a lot because the Kindle editions end up being so much more expensive. Were a Kindle book might be $10.99 or $12.99, the paper edition might be $6.99 or $7.99. I have the big Kindle (the DX). After almost a year I can reliably say it's not for me and never gets used except to tote around my .pdf files. I still read paper books and manga, and probably always will.