Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Borders had a lousy Christmas

January 19, 2010

BORDERSBOOKSCheck out Borders’ poor 2009 holiday sales numbers.

The No 2 U.S. bricks-and-mortar bookseller disclosed its how sharply sales fell during the disastrous 2009 holiday season on Monday (apparently hoping no one would notice on the Martin Luther King Jr holiday, with the markets closed).  It is hardly the kind of news Borders needs after it has been lambasted by investors and analysts alike for coming so very late to the e-books reader game.

Borders said comparable sales at its superstores fell 14.6 percent in the 11-week period ended Jan. 16. (To be fair, excluding weak sales in items such as music and video, which Borders is moving away from, sales were down 10.9 percent.)  How did it stack up against its biggest rival? Barnes & Noble’s same-store sales fell 5.4 percent in the nine weeks ended on Jan 2.

Borders CEO Ron Marshall said he was “disappointed” with the results. Maybe he should also be worried. A year earlier, a decent holiday season allowed the company to have its only profitable quarter in fiscal 2009. (For now, though, analysts seem to think Borders made money during the holidays despite dwindling sales, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.)

Still, investors see some cause for concern.  Borders shares fell 14 percent to $1.17 in premarket trading on Monday.

Also in the basket:

Kraft snares Cadbury for $19.6 billion

Kraft CEO satisfied with sweetened Cadbury deal

Burberry sales top hopes as rich spend again

(Reuters photo)

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