March 18 – 25, 2010 Edition Borders Books May Call for More Layoffs

NEW YORK, NY/AUTHORLINK NEWS/03/18/10–Borders Books this month has begun several rounds of layoffs only weeks after a new CEO came on board, according to a report at DailyFinance. Multiple sources indicated that on March 4 — a date employees are already referring to on internal message boards as “Black Thursday” — Borders instituted a company-wide layoff of all inventory supervisors, and also let go an unspecified number of part-time employees, probably about ten percent of its staff. The layoffs reportedly amount to about 15% of the booksellerÂ’s current workforce, which was already pared down by about 1,000 jobs last year.

Rumors continue to circulate that the company will continue to lay off more full-time employees this month. Overall, Borders employs about 25,000 people. Some fear whether the company can pull out of its current tailspin and avoid bankruptcy, despite the confident claim by Pershing Square CEO William Ackman, a major investor, that bankruptcy is a “low-probability event” for Borders.

In January Borders (BGP) CEO Ron Marshall left in a surprise departure after just a year on the job, according to The Wall Street Journal. The news came just one day after the book retailer posted dismal holiday earnings, and a few days after fending off reports that it was delaying payments to small publishers.

Mike Edwards, who had been Borders’ Chief Merchandising Officer since September, has been named interim CEO, reporting to Board Chairman Mick McGuire. In addition, the company’s Board of Directors has retained Korn/Ferry International to lead the search for a permanent CEO.

Borders spokesperson Mary Davis later responded to DailyFinance’s messages with the following: “Borders is always looking for opportunities to improve performance and profitability. Any recent changes are a continuation of our efforts.”