Struggling Borders UK’s non-book products, including toys, gifts and snacks, are poised to account for half the bookseller’s sales after signing a tie-up with gadget retailer Red5.
At present, products other than books make up a third of sales, but Borders chief executive Philip Downer said it is “widening the offer in the face of static book sales”.
He said: “The retail sector has changed beyond recognition. The book market has also. We need to adapt our offer.”
The struggling retailer’s tie-up with Red5 is part of a strategy to diversify the product mix and make better use of its floor space.
Red5 will sell products from November in 11 of Borders’ 36 superstores and the tie-up will be extended if successful.
Borders commercial director Peter Newbould said the two retailers make a good fit because they share a “very similar customer profile. We’d really struggle to do it ourselves with the same authority”, he said.
Red5 will provide Borders with staff during busy periods, to demonstrate the products.
Downer said: “We’re reinventing the book store. We’re moving from a library format to a retail format.”
He said Borders is “very keen to take advantage of the property market” and open stores in towns where it has no presence, such as Aberdeen and Bath. “The business can be grown. You can’t shrink your way to success. We know where the opportunities are so watch this space.”
He added the retailer enjoyed “constant levels of support” from suppliers after having its credit insurance scaled back earlier this year.
Borders intends to launch a loyalty scheme next year.