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Borders Plays Catch-up Online
Calvin Reid -- 11/10/97
The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based bookstore chain will join an already crowded Web bookselling market. Amazon. com (launched in 1995) and B&N.com (launched this past spring) have reported more than $150 million in sales this year alone, and analysts speculate that online book and music sales could reach $1 billion by 2000.
Will Borders.com be hurt by its late entry into the online bookselling race? "Time will tell," said Borders v-p for planning and finance Rick Vanzura. "We're not concerned with being first, but with being the best for our customers." Vanzura said more partnerships are likely ("We're not done yet") and will be announced, along with the company's third-quarter earnings, on November 17.

In a preliminary report, Borders anticipates a break-even third quarter, with zero net income, compared to a $2.7- million loss in the same period last year. Comparable sales rose 7.3% for Borders and 0.1% for Waldenbooks. The company noted that profitable results were offset by the spending for its Web site. Results were also offset by Borders' acquisition of the 20-store U.K. bookstore chain Books Etc. in September for $66.8 million.
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