Saturday, August 20, 2011

An Early Christmas at the Borders Liquidation

It was a Christmas-like crowd at the Borders store I visited, and I am not merely referring to the nearly-full parking lot and the number of customers in the store. It was obvious that many of the customers were doing their Christmas shopping. The liquidators must realize this, too: among the hurt merchandise they brought in to fill out the store, already depleted of three fourths of its regular merchandise, you could find stuffed animals, pillows, 2012 calendars, candles, and other traditional Christmas gift items.

For Borders and its liquidators, it is a successful sale, with most of the merchandise gone before the discounts got to 50 percent.

The scale of this liquidation sale does not bode well for other retailers in the coming Christmas shopping season. We know from the experience of the last four years that shoppers who finish their Christmas shopping early really don’t buy much more when November rolls around.

There was something to be learned from the departments that liquidated quickly and those that weren’t liquidating. The wedding and martial arts sections were conspicuous in still having most of their books on the shelves. Extra discounts don’t tempt many additional buyers in these categories. By contrast, the foreign language books were long gone; price, apparently, is a barrier for most people who are interested in studying a language.

I managed to exit the store without buying anything — not even lunch, as the cafe closed a month ago — but most shoppers seemed to have collected the six items needed for the extra discount the store announcer promised at the cash register. As I said, it was like the Christmas shopping season — because much of it was Christmas shopping.