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Borders to cut 20% of corporate staff

June 04, 2008|Josh Getlin | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — The financially troubled Borders book chain said Tuesday that it would lay off 274 corporate employees, representing 20% of its corporate workforce, as part of a planned $120-million cut in annual expenses.

None of the layoffs would affect employees in the chain's 574 Borders superstores and 475 Waldenbooks specialty retail stores.

The cuts represent less than 1% of the company's total workforce, according to a statement.

Borders Group Inc., the nation's second-largest book chain, said last month that it would be making these cuts "to put us in a better place for the future and because our overhead expenses are not in line with the nature of our business today," corporate spokeswoman Anne Roman said. "We're going to be turning over every stone and looking at every opportunity to reach this financial goal."

Although Borders Chief Executive George Jones said that the company remained committed to new initiatives, including plans for new high-tech "concept" stores, he conceded the cutbacks were "difficult" because of their effect on employees and their families. He said, however, that the cuts would boost Borders' long-term profitability.

The Ann Arbor, Mich., company said earlier that it was considering putting itself up for sale, but no final decisions had been reached. One potential buyer is Barnes & Noble Inc., the nation's largest book chain, which has begun exploring the feasibility of such an acquisition.

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josh.getlin@latimes.com

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