Borders Narrows Loss for 2Q

Ann Arbor, Mich. Borders Group Inc. narrowed its losses and slashed its debt during the second quarter, but continued to see sales slow as consumers limited their discretionary spending.

The company said it lost $9.2 million for the quarter ending Aug. 2 compared with a loss of $25.1 million for the same quarter of last year.

The company also said that it lost $11.3 million from its continuing operations, compared with a loss of $18.1 million last year. Meanwhile, total revenue fell to $758.5 million from $812.4 million.

Borders said same-store sales for the quarter fell 8.9%, due in part to the release of a book in the Harry Potter series last year and current declines in music sales. Excluding Harry Potter and music sales, same-store sales fell by 3% for the quarter.

Borders did benefit during the quarter from some big-title releases and the sale of its business unit for Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, which was valued at $87.9 million. The company recorded an after-tax gain of $2.6 million from the sale.

The company said it used the sale of the foreign business unit to help reduce its debt by 37%, or $272.7 million, for the quarter.

The company also took a number of inventory and cost-control steps during the quarter, improving its operating cash flow by $195.7 million.

Borders made several other changes during the quarter as part of its restructuring, including opening four new Borders superstores in the United States and bringing its Web site, which generated $7.4 million in sales during the quarter, in house.

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