July 22, 2011, 11:49 AM

Borders begins winding down

Stores are closing, but what happens to the web is unclear.

Lead Photo

The liquidation process of the physical side of the business for Borders Group is beginning, but it’s not so clear where e-commerce stands.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York  gave the go-ahead Wednesday to Hilco Merchant Resources, Gordon Brothers Group and other retail liquidation firms to begin to sell off the assets and inventory of Borders, No. 200 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

As a precursor to closing about 400 stores, the liquidation firms starting today will hold a going-out-of-business sale and give the shopping public the chance to buy inventory once valued at $700 million, such as books in every category, including new releases, best sellers, textbooks, rare and collectible books, and children's books.  There will also be substantial price reductions on tens of thousands of music CDs and video DVDs, calendars, posters, puzzles, and arts and crafts items.

Bargain hunters can also buy store fixtures such as lighting, shelving and racks, and, at select locations, café equipment.  Borders gift cards will be honored throughout the sale, says the entity managing the liquidation, a joint venture of Gordon Brothers, Hilco, Great American Group, SB Capital Group and Tiger Capital Group. “This is the final opportunity for consumers to take advantage of truly compelling discounts on a tremendous selection of literature, entertainment media and much more,”  the group says.  “We anticipate that today's value-conscious consumer will respond very positively to these outstanding savings.  We expect this will be a short sale."

While the store liquidation process is beginning, neither Borders, which generated web sales of about $75.2 million in 2010,nor the liquidation group have yet to disclose the fate of the e-commerce operations of Borders.com. As part of the liquidation plan approved by the bankruptcy court, Hilco and Gordon now also own all of the retailer’s intellectual property rights, including Borders.com.

The home page at Borders.com featured a headline that says “All Borders stores are going out of business,” and says all items are “up to 40% off.” The banner notes that the sale prices do not apply to Borders.com merchandise.

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