Borders set for major out-of-town growth

Borders property director Geoff Robotham signalled a major expansion of the US-owned bookstore's out-of-town portfolio at the Accessible Retail conference.

He said Borders has been encouraged to open on retail parks by the high cost of running city centre stores.

The retailer is adding retail park stores at Lakeside in Thurrock, Leicester and Stockport in coming weeks to its list of existing out-of-town units in Cheshire Oaks, Fort Kinnaird and Watford.

Robotham said Borders has found retail park stores are cheaper to staff and suffer fewer theft problems. Also, retail park stores offer large space, which is more simple to trade from and easier to lay out.

But on the downside, they miss out on tourists, students and office workers - all heavy book buyers - and attract families instead.

Borders has also found rents are not necessarily cheaper in the high-volume/low-margin retail park sector.

Robotham said: 'It raises the question of paying£18 per sq ft (£195 per sq m) in Cambridge with access to all those students and paying£25 per sq ft (£270 per sq m) out-of-town with access to none of those students.'