Borders closing hits five stores in N.H.

Following a long struggle to keep its head above water, Borders, the nation’s second-largest bookstore chain, will liquidate and shutter its nearly 400 remaining bookstores, including all three full-size stores and two express stores in New Hampshire.

After being unable to secure a buyer to keep it in operation, Borders canceled a pending bankruptcy auction and will close its remaining 399 stores. Pending an expected approval on July 21, corporate liquidation group Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Group will purchase its assets.

Five stores in the Granite State will close as a result of the liquidation: Borders stores in West Lebanon, Keene and Concord, and Borders Express locations in North Conway and Salem.

The giant bookseller, which at one time operated more than 1,200 stores across the country, has been struggling for some time now. In February 2011, the bookselling monolith filed for bankruptcy and announced that it was closing about 200 stores. The only Borders store in New Hampshire to close at that time was the store in Nashua.

Rising sales of e-readers, decreased discretionary spending because of the recession and increased competition from online sellers like Amazon were all forces that hurt the company’s bottom line.

“Following the best efforts of all parties, we are saddened by this development,” said Borders Group president Mike Edwards in a statement. “We were all working hard towards a different outcome, but the headwinds we have been facing for quite some time, including the rapidly changing book industry, e-reader revolution, and turbulent economy, have brought us to where we are now.”

The company said liquidation sales could start as early as this Friday, and expects all stores closed by September. About 10,700 jobs will be lost nationally. — KATHLEEN CALLAHAN/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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