Sadly, before the day is out I suspect we will learn that Borders in the UK is in administration. It has been no secret that the group has been for sale for a while and it was reported that W H Smith ceased talks to buy 36 of their 45 outlets last Friday.
If last week ended badly for Borders, this week started on an accelerating worse-to-come. Mainly via The Bookseller, we learnt yesterday that staff were instructed in the morning that customer orders could not be taken in store. By the afternoon, online customer orders had drawn to a halt. By last night, three suppliers were no longer supplying Borders with stock.
It has been reported that Borders is thought to be still in negotiations with HMV, owner of Waterstone's, amongst others. However, the painful developments of yesterday suggest to me that notice of administration might come as early as today. This would mean the end of Borders trading as we know it, but not necessarily the end as seen with Woolworth's. Let's remember that part of The Works' chain survived under new ownership and according to an article in The Independent, they are also doing well this year. As with any troubled business, those areas operating with some success have a chance to continue to do so in another format.
There is never a good time for such as this, but in the run up to Christmas it is worse. My thoughts go out to employees of Borders and associated companies, including their suppliers.
Today's article in The Independent by James Thompson also includes an interesting analysis of the retail book market in the UK.