He said: “Yes, we are looking at the store portfolio. We have gone from a large multinational to nimble private equity, we are changing the way we run the business. The reason we’re here is to deliver strong profitability.”
Borders UK operates 41 superstores, 20 bookshops and seven airport stores. It was bought by Luke Johnson’s Risk Capital Partners in September.
Downer said he plans to introduce more events in stores. “Ultimately, I’d like an event in every store, every day. That is my aspiration.” He said an event could be anything from a knitting circle to a David and Victoria Beckham appearance.
The retailer is also set to introduce new IT systems and a transactional web site in the next few months. The site will offer about 1 million titles and new services including an Argos-style click and collect.
Downer said the retailer is set to add computer games to its offer and extend its children’s range. Borders UK delivered positive like-for-likes in January, he revealed.
* Retail Week has learnt that bargain bookstore chain The Works could close about 50 stores, after the 317-store chain went into administration last week (Retail Week, last week).
Peter Saville, partner at administrator Kroll, declined to comment on the closure figure, but said more than 30 parties, which have signed confidentiality agreements, are interested in The Works store portfolio.