|Borders store in Carolina. (Credit: ©Mauricio Pascual)|
The 40-year-old company plans to close about 200 of its 642 so-called superstores over the next few weeks, the Associated Press reported. The round of closings includes two of the three stores on the island, where it has been operating since 1990.
While the store in Plaza las Américas, which was the first to open, will remain open, the Borders locations in Carolina and Mayagüez will close, as both have struggled to turned profits since opening. In total, the three locations employ about 120 people. The company included the two stores in its Chapter 11 filing, in which it said it will look for buyers for the 17,000 square-foot stand-alone Carolina location and 15,000 square foot Mayagüez property.
The local downsizing is in stark contrast to what the company had planned for the Puerto Rico market. In 2007, company officials said new stores would open in Carolina — in addition to its Plaza Escorial location — Bayamón, Caguas, Hatillo and the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport by 2010. However, that never happened.
As part of the restructuring, Borders has received some $505 million debtor-in-possession financing commitments lead by GE Capital’s Restructuring Finance division. If approved by the court, the money will be used to meet its current obligations and continue improving stores.
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