NEW YORK — Embattled US bookstore chain Borders said Monday it would liquidate after failing to find a buyer amid the growing popularity of e-books and the slow economy.
Borders, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February and hoped to attract a bidder as it reorganized, said it would close its 399 stores. More than 10,000 people will lose their jobs.
Borders said it will seek court approval Thursday of a previously announced proposal from liquidators Hilco and Gordon Brothers to buy the store assets of the business and start the liquidation, in the absence of a formal proposal from anyone else who would keep the business alive.
“Following the best efforts of all parties, we are saddened by this development,” said Borders Group president Mike Edwards.
“We were all working hard towards a different outcome, but the headwinds we have been facing for quite some time, including the rapidly changing book industry, eReader revolution, and turbulent economy, have brought us to where we are now.”
Under the proposal and subject to court approval, the liquidation is expected to begin for some stores and facilities as soon as Friday, with a phased rollout of the program expected to wind up by the end of September.
Borders said it intended to liquidate under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code and, as a result, it expected to be able to pay vendors for all expenses incurred during the bankruptcy cases.
Borders had announced in early July that it had a bid from investment firm Najafi which wanted to keep the chain going, but Edwards last week confirmed that Najafi had withdrawn.
In July 2010, Borders launched an online store for e-books to challenge Amazon, Apple, and others already in the fast-growing digital books market.
But many industry analysts said the move came too late.