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Don’t Jump at Borders’ 40%-Off Sale


Borders began going-out-of-business sales for its 399 remaining stores today, with a starting offer of up to 40% off everything. The key words there for eager shoppers: “up to.”

Most items are starting with discounts of 20% off, which we reported earlier this week may not be enough of a break to eclipse regular prices at competitors like Barnes & Noble and Amazon. The advertised 40% deals are primarily on slow-moving items like less-popular DVDs and older books like almost-outdated computer titles, reports The Wall Street Journal. (Borders did not respond to requests for comment.) Liquidators take stock of sales on a weekly basis, and most shoppers are better off waiting for the next round of markdowns.

The exception: if you have gift certificates or reward cash to spend. In an email to shoppers Friday, Borders said it would accept gift cards for the duration of its liquidation sales, which are expected to wrap up by the end of September. Borders Bucks – currency earned through the store loyalty program – will be accepted until July 31. Shoppers who had paid $20 for an annual membership to the Borders Plus program can use their discounts (which include an extra 10% off the list price of most items in the store) until August 5.

Some stores may not be closing after all — which means no sales starting today could wrap up quickly. Books-a-Million Inc. submitted a bid to take over leases and inventory at 30 locations, including eight in Pennsylvania, and wants the option to buy an additional five, says the WSJ.  Publishers Marketplace editor Sarah Weinman tweeted the list of proposed purchases from the courtroom yesterday. Among the stores she says could be saved: #89 in Columbia, Md.; #136 in Dayton, Ohio; #225 in San Diego, Calif.; #188 in Salem, Ore., and #340 in Concord, N.H. Shoppers in those areas who want to take advantage of bigger discounts might need to hunt for another nearby store that is closing (see the full list here).


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About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.