Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Battling booksellers

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books.jpgCheck out those coupons from Borders.
 
In a new report, J.P. Morgan analyst Charles Grom begins tracking the promotional cadence at book sellers. Grom said he is keeping a close eye on discounts and promotions as the price war among book retailers extends into the first half of 2008 and Borders prepares to launch its own e-commerce site.
 
 
The view so far?  “Borders is still clearly focused on driving the top line, perhaps at the expense of margins, as it remains the most promotional retailer in bookselling today,” Grom wrote.
 
Borders averages about two coupons per week, with spikes in broad-based discounts during the holiday, quarter-end and month-end periods, Grom said. The company put more promotional focus on specific categories in February and March.
 
Barnes & Noble’s rewards program, unlike Borders’, is subscription based, with members paying $25 and receiving discounts,
 
“As such, Barnes & Noble’s direct marketing campaign serves more as a reminder of discounts rather than a limited time offer,” Grom said. But he added that he’s seen some special offers from Barnes over the past several weeks, including a 40-percent discount on kids’ books.
 
Grom sees the pace of discounts at Borders continuing in the first half as it ramps up e-commerce sales and faces macroeconomic headwinds.
 
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 (Photo: Reuters)

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