While selling assets to reduce debt, the company is moving aggressively to cut costs. It’s announced plans to shrink expenses by $120 million this year and next, including reducing its corporate staff by 20 percent. The 156 people laid off in June at its Ann Arbor headquarters included many longtime employees—Joe Gable among them. (Gable won’t comment but is said to be pondering a job at Shaman Drum Bookshop on State Street—just a few doors down from the stores he once managed for the Borders brothers.) Another 118 jobs were eliminated at Borders’s distribution and sales arms.
In the online community livejournal.com, Borders employees report that more jobs are being cut in the stores, along with perks ranging from 401(k) retirement contributions to free coffee. Many say they’re afraid that the company will eliminate their jobs—and could undermine its own future by slashing staff and services too severely.
Jones, though, says he’s focused on the future of Borders: “We will continue on with the strategic plan—we feel like we’re on the right track with it. To use the analogy, we’re sailing along nicely with our boat—hit a storm or a hurricane and you make adjustments, batten down your hatches, detour a bit—but stay on course.”