Bookseller Borders explores sale, suspends dividend

Borders suspended its quarterly dividend, which it will plow into operations.

Same-store domestic sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, were up 2.1% from the same quarter a year ago. Same-store sales are a key economic indicator.

The sales performance marked the third consecutive quarter of positive same-store sales at domestic Borders stores, and Jones said it shows Borders hasn't been as hard hit as some other retailers.

However, he noted: "We really thought we'd do better than that,"

The sales agreement announced Thursday gives Borders the option until Jan. 15 to require Pershing Square to pay $125 million for its international business, which includes Borders' Paperchase, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore subsidiaries. But Borders said it must pursue the sale of those operations elsewhere before any deal with Pershing.

Jones said six months to a year would be typical for the review underway right now concerning strategic plans.

Borders Group a year ago announced a restructuring that included a fresh face for its U.S. superstores and a jump back into online bookselling. Borders opened the first of its new concept stores last month and has said its new Borders.com website would debut by early May.

Jones said Borders will continue rolling out the concept stores this year, with 13 more planned.

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