My neighborhood Borders is closing - it's a big blow to our local mall and movie theater complex. The rumor of Borders bankruptcy had swirled around for a while before it actually happened, so the store closing wasn't exactly a surprise. It still sucks for our local economy and psyche, though.
Recently, Mark Evans, Director of Merchandise Planning & Analysis for Borders outlined 6 reasons why he thought Borders failed. For example:
Failure to build efficient systems and processes - While Borders legendary "expert system" was considered cutting edge and an advantage early on, the company failed to successfully build upon this foundation and create new, better assortment, replenishment, and supply chain systems and processes to keep pace with the changing state of technology and efficient retail operations. B&N invested considerable time/energy/money through the 90's in systems and processes. To provide one example, a lower ranked title that sells out in a B&N will be replenished from a central warehouse within 2-3 days. The same process could take up to 16 weeks for Borders. Borders sought to upgrade systems with two large efforts in the 00's: first one was a home grown effort called Common Systems. Second was a "buy and integrate" project to implement Retek and E3. Both failed spectacularly. The Retek effort dramatically hurt the Walden chain, the only business unit that was managed by the system. With both of these efforts, large sums of money and, perhaps more importantly, human resources and time were squandered.
I read through all his 6 reasons (TLDR: lack of Internet sales, overspent on real estate, invested in music CDs as that sector cratered, carrying too large assortment of books, failure to reorder things that sell well, branding failure) - and noticed one conspicuous absence: they didn't mention their customers at all!
Our local Borders had terrible customer service (I remember the exact moment that Borders lost me as a customer: a manager once implied that I was stealing when I tried to return a book without receipt!)
Do you agree with Mark Evans? Why do you think Borders went bankrupt?