You won't find Borders Group
Borders' second-quarter net loss widened to $45.6 million, or $0.76 per share, from a net loss of $11.3 million, or $0.19 per share, in the year-ago period. Even if you take out a whole mess of "one-time" charges, the net loss was still $0.21 per share -- even worse than analysts' expectations of a $0.16-per-share drop.
Meanwhile, total revenue dropped 17.7%, to $616.8 million, and same-store sales plunged 13% (a figure the company said excludes multimedia). Borders superstores' comps plunged 17.9%, and Waldenbooks' comps fell 10.8%.
If there's any shred of good news in the results, it's that Borders has pared its onerous net debt by 42.5% to $242.5 million. That's a definite step in the right direction. Debt can be dangerous to retailers these days, and Borders' dizzying debt level always made me nervous.
Still, Borders remains deep in the proverbial woods. It still faces massive industry disruption from Amazon.com
In addition, Borders also still faces plenty of old-fashioned bricks-and-mortar competition from retailers like Books-A-Million, Wal-Mart Stores
Borders remains one of my least favorite stock ideas; even beyond the competitive dangers of a digital book revolution, I'm still not convinced it can survive the current recession. Sure, a smaller debt may relieve shareholders, but Borders' top- and bottom-line results show things are still ugly, and may only get worse. I still suspect this beleaguered bookseller's future chapters won't get any less gruesome.
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