Saturday, December 3

Surging rental crushes Singapore flagship of chain bookstore Borders

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SINGAPORE:  The Singapore flagship outlet of chain bookstore Borders was placed under judicial management for six months, giving it a breathing time to try to step out of financial difficulty, Xinhua News quoted a local newspaper report on Wednesday.

The flagship outlet of the chain at Wheelock Place shut its doors last month after it failed to reach an agreement with the landlord.

The company said in documents submitted to the court that surging rental and the impact from the growing popularity of electronic books were among the factors leading to its financial woes.

James Peter Webber, a Borders director, said the monthly rental for the outlet had surged to S$ 540,000 starting from August 2008, though he did not disclose the monthly rental before that.

Before that, the bookstore was still making money in the year ended February 2008.

Webber said the impact from the growing popularity of electronic books and the closure of its parent company was also a factor.

The Borders Group in the United States, which sold the Singapore store to REDgroup in 2008, declared bankruptcy in February. REDgroup Retail entered voluntary administration mired in debt recently.

Borders has two stores in Singapore. The other store at Parkway Parade is still open.

Borders said it has tried to negotiate with the landlord at Wheelock Place to almost halve the monthly rental, but did not succeed. It also tried to find a buyer, and the effort was also unsuccessful.