Borders Group reported that total sales for the year ended January 26 increased 2.9%, to $3.39 billion. The increase was led by a 3.8% gain in superstore sales, to $2.32 billion, and a 25.1% increase in international sales, to $314.9 million, which offset a 5.5% sales decline, to $852.2 million, at Waldenbooks. Comparable-store sales were down for both the superstores, 1.2%, and Walden, 3.2%.

Fourth-quarter sales, which were soft through January 8 (News, Jan. 13), did not improve in the remaining three weeks of the fiscal year. Total sales were up 1.4% in the period, to $1.22 billion.

Looking at 2003, Borders chairman Greg Josefowicz said he expects the "challenging" sales enviornment to continue, especially in the first half of the year. He is hoping things will improve in the second half with the release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and "the potential for enhanced clarity in world and economic issues." The company is projecting slightly negative to slightly positive comaprable-store sales for its superstores for the year, with Walden same-store sales falling in the low single digits.