Last night, the CEO of Borders, Mike Edwards, sent out a farewell to the company's Rewards customers, citing the reasons for the bookseller's demise. It's not all that common for such a large company to offer a personalized explanation to its customers, but it seems fitting considering the surprisingly high level of public outcry over the news. (Judging from some of the comments we've seen on various Borders articles, you'd think a beloved mom-and-pop bookstore was shuttering.)
But before you read the CEO's farewell below, note that liquidation sales start in-store today — and they will indeed be taking up to 40% off, as reported by the LA Times. (The website is excluded from these markdowns.) We predicted this might be the case, and we also noted that Borders has listed numerous coupons that offered identical or better discounts in the months since it declared bankruptcy in February, which dulls the light of these supposedly fantastic sales. (In fact, there have been 11 coupons that specifically took 40% or 50% off the list price of various goods; click here to read more.)
And now, the Borders CEO's adieu:
As I'm sure you've heard by now, Borders will be closing its doors after more than 40 years of igniting the love of reading in generations of customers. I am sorry to have to share this news with you as I feel you have been here right along with us as we fought valiantly to save the company. I want to personally thank you for your loyalty and support, whether you were one of the nearly 1.8 million customers who signed up for the Borders Rewards Plus program, shopped in our stores or on Borders.com, or simply took the time to email or call the company to express support.
You might be asking yourself, what happened? How could it be that there won't be a Borders moving forward? In a nutshell, following continued negotiations and the best efforts from all parties, no bidders presented a formal proposal to keep our company operating as a going concern. Therefore, under the terms of our debtor-in-possession financing agreement, we presented to the court for approval the proposal for firms to purchase our stores’ assets and administer the liquidation process.
We had worked very hard toward a different outcome. The fact is that Borders has been facing headwinds for quite some time, including a rapidly changing book industry, the eReader revolution, and a turbulent economy. We put up a great fight, but regrettably, in the end, we weren’t able to overcome these external forces.
Going out of business sales begin in stores Friday, July 22. I encourage you to take advantage of this one-time opportunity to find exceptional discounts on your favorite books and other great merchandise. Gift cards will be honored during the liquidation sales, and Borders Rewards Plus members will continue to enjoy their Borders Rewards Plus discounts through August 5. Further, all Borders Bucks will be honored until they expire on July 31.
For decades, Borders stores have been destinations within communities — places where people have sought knowledge, entertainment, and enlightenment and connected with others who share their passions. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to lead Borders and play a role in the true and noble cause of expanding access to books and promoting the joy of reading. As a company, we cannot thank you enough for giving us the opportunity to serve you and the millions of other customers who have shopped our stores over the years. My sincerest hope is that we remain in the hearts of readers for years to come.
CEO of Borders
Doesn't this letter make you feel awful about all those times you went to Borders, grabbed a magazine, and sat in the Dean & Deluca café without buying anything?