DETROIT — Book retailer Borders Group Inc. said Monday that it is cooperating with a Justice Department antitrust inquiry into the closure of mall bookstores by its Waldenbooks chain.
Rick Vanzura, Borders' vice president of group planning and resource management, said the Justice Department has sought information on whether the company has held any talks about mall closures with its archrival, B. Dalton Bookseller, a unit of Barnes & Noble Inc. He said an internal audit has found no anti-competitive practices in the Waldenbooks closure program.
Both companies have had to close mall stores in recent years partly because of the increasing popularity of their own book superstore chains, which offer much larger selections.
On Sunday, Barnes & Noble said it is cooperating with a government inquiry into its mall store closings but added that it does not believe the inquiry has any merit.
The B. Dalton closings were based solely on the economics of each location, the company said.
In 1993, Waldenbooks announced plans to close 187 mall stores. In 1994, it closed 74 stores and expects to close another 40 stores in 1995. But it has removed about 73 stores from its original closure list, including 21 stores saved by renegotiated leases and 52 stores where the company could not obtain early lease terminations.