Posted by Anthony Zumpano on January 19, 2010 11:52 AM
Borders better start selling those Kobo e-readers. The beleaguered bookseller posted yet another loss in holiday sales, this time a 14 percent drop for 2009.
Ron Marshall, the CEO of Borders Group, which also owns the Waldenbooks brand that’s slowly dying at a mall near you, announced that the chain would be focusing more on higher-margin items such as children’s books and avoiding music and video products. He also delivered the CEO-worthy observational nugget that the brand, "must intensify our focus on creating and delivering a shopping experience that delivers profitable sales."
Marshall recently celebrated his one-year anniversary at the helm of Borders Group, following a corporate bloodbath that cost the company more than $5 million in severance just to dump its top four executives. At the time, Borders faced delisting from the New York Stock Exchange because its stock price hovered around a buck.
After the latest chapter of bad news, the stock lost seven cents, which doesn’t sound like much except when the closing price is $1.36, for a one-day drop of almost 5 percent. (Barnes & Noble, which took a 5 percent holiday hit, closed at nearly $18, while Amazon continues to coast at a healthy $127.)
The Wall Street journal lists a number of concerns, from big-box competition to a hefty loan repayment, that is likely giving Marshall the indigestion he never experienced while he was engineering impressive turnarounds at the supermarket chain Pathmark and the food distribution company Nash Finch.
Convincing consumers to embrace a troubled brand is hard enough with an energized workforce, so imagine the steep climb for a company employing a demoralized team on the front lines that’s ratted out the company for sending unsold books to the dumpster and posting LiveJournal entries like this:
"I don't want the company to die, I want the management to get hit by a truck so we can start over and be an awesome company again."