Daily Archives: Saturday 13 February 2010

Why the big discounts?

Being a book loving family, we get the weekly Borders’ discount vouchers sent to us, and from time to time we even go and use them. This week’s discount was a goody – 30% off one full-priced children’s book, one voucher per customer. So I promised the strangelings a Saturday morning trip to Borders, where they could spend their pocket money on a book each. They get 1/2 their age in pocket money, so the Misses Eight get $4 each, and Ms Eleven gets $5.50, totted up in a running total in a notebook. They have sizable balances at present, so it seems like a good idea to spend some of it on books, especially when such a big discount is offered.

When we got there, we found an even bigger discount on offer. It was a time based discount offered in store – 15% off one full priced book, or 25% off two, or 35% off three or more full priced books, on books purchased between 12pm and 3pm that day. We got six.

The sales clerk told me that she didn’t know anything about the discount until this morning, when the signs went up in the shop. It wasn’t a one-off; the same discount had been offered yesterday.

So why is Borders trying to get people to buy more books, right now. It’s not stocktake season, ‘though perhaps they are still trying to move stock they purchased for Christmas. If so, that might indicate that they are having some cashflow difficulties, trying to pay for Christmas stock without having enough cash coming in from customers, in which case watch for more discounts coming up. Or maybe they are trying to convert the large numbers of bookstore browsers into book buyers, again, as a way of getting more cash.

Are Borders stores elsewhere in Australia and New Zealand offering the same sort of discounts? And does this show some kind of trouble?