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Bloomberg reports that Borders, seeking relevance in a retail world that seems dominated by Amazon and where even Barnes & Noble seems to be struggling, has hit upon a strategy that it hopes will work.

CEO Michael Edwards says he wants to mimic Indigo Books & Music in Canada, which revitalized its business by becoming “a cultural department store” that can “feature items like Pilates balls and wine glasses along with copies of ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’.”

According to the story, “In the next two years, Borders will fill its superstores with stand-alone sections, such as areas where people can craft stuffed animals through the Build-a-Bear Workshop Inc. brand, that will differentiate it from Barnes & Noble, Edwards said.

“‘You create more shops within a shop, so you really know you are in a unique part of the store,’ Edwards said.

“Edwards chose this route because he expects half the chain’s books to be sold online in three years, and other items can boost profits because they have higher margins than books. His time working for defunct computer retailer CompUSA also showed him the wisdom of diversifying, he said.”
KC's View:
It is my impression that Amazon already is a kind of cultural department store ... so I have no idea whether this will work, and I’m not sure that CompUSA would be the model that I’d be citing.

However, Borders clearly has to do something to differentiate itself. So it might as well take a shot.