by Aimee Levitt
After failing to find another buyer after last week's deal with a private investor fell through, Borders has declared unconditional surrender. The bookstore chain, which has been on the brink of death since it declared bankruptcy in February, announced this afternoon that it had decided to liquidate.
Pending a judge's decision on Thursday to sell the store's assets to liquidators led by Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Group, Borders could start selling off its stock as early as this Friday, July 22. The company expects to have closed all its stores -- including the six left in the St. Louis area -- by the end of September. (Read: Massive sales coming your way very soon.)
The bankruptcy auction that had been scheduled for tomorrow has been scrapped. Not that there were any likely bidders anyway.
"Following the best efforts of all parties, we are saddened by this development," Borders Group President Mike Edwards wrote in a letter to his soon-to-be-fired employees. "We were all working hard toward a different outcome, but the head winds 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."
No word on whether the publishers and distributors who Borders failed to pay during the last holiday season will see any of their money.
Farewell Borders! We will miss your comfy leather armchairs, your lively cafe, your exquisite and wide-ranging newsstand, all of which made you -- or at least your Brentwood location -- the best chain bookstore in St. Louis in 2006 and again in 2008. And best of luck to the 10,600 Borders employees who still managed to hang onto their jobs after the company purged nearly a third of its stores last spring.