Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Borders Layoffs

4. June 2008 • Bruce Fields
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Ed suggests people might want to discuss Layoffs at Border’s Ann Arbor headquarters. So, here’s your chance.

From the Ann Arbor News article:

E. Han Kim, a professor of finance at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business, said corporate layoffs are an expense-cutting move that typically happens after a company has sold off, or tried to sell, noncore assets.

“Then when times get really tough, they have to lay off people who are closer to the top management,” Kim said. “When that doesn’t work, then the last resort is changing of top management through a sale of the company.”

If the company were to be sold or merged with another company, that could jeopardize hundreds of jobs at the Ann Arbor headquarters.



  1. Given everything that’s happened at Borders in the last couple of years, I don’t think there’s really any doubt that all those HQ jobs will be gone soon. It’s damn sad to see Ann Arbor lose another corporate HQ and point of local pride.


       —Fred Zimmerman    Jun. 4 '08 - 01:36PM    #
  2. I’m quite certain there will be layoffs at Borders. However, I’m wondering if it will be a total sale of all company assets, or if Borders will just shrink back down to a manageable size. I don’t think the latter is completely out of the question.

    If they did, they might keep the headquarters, though they also might sell it and try to relocate to smaller quarters.


       —Young Urban Amateur    Jun. 4 '08 - 02:38PM    #
  3. I think Young Urban Amateur hit it right – “shrink back down to a manageable size.” I worked at Borders when it had 5 stores and that was just less than 20 years ago. How many do they have now? 500+ and that doesn’t include Waldenbooks which they also own. Corporate followed the Starbucks approach to over expanding and unfortunately their employees are now paying the price.


       —A2Guy    Jun. 4 '08 - 03:49PM    #
  4. They have lost more than $150 million over the last two years and are still missing earnings expectations. The most logical acquirer, Barnes & Nobles, has stores in many duplicate locations and absolutely no use for an Ann Arbor hq. All the other possible acquirers are private equity companies, in other words, sharks.

    The local news coverage is, I think, missing the point. It’s time to panic.


       —Fred Zimmerman    Jun. 4 '08 - 05:11PM    #
  5. Collateral damage: as Borders cuts back or disappears, it will leave behind dozens/hundreds of communities that USED to have good independent local bookstores, and lost them due to competition from a chain superstore. Each one was a significant loss for a community’s cultural scene, and each one cost a few good jobs. But those job losses, a few here and a few there, you never read about.

    I know there were other factors in the decline of the indie bookseller, but Borders sure as hell did its part. Which is especially sad, considering that it used to be a fine indie bookseller itself.


       —jvwalt    Jun. 10 '08 - 06:01AM    #