Borders Looks Beyond Borders

Greg Josefowicz, CEO of the Borders book chain, has looked into the future and he sees India.

According to this article, the Ann Arbor-based chain is betting on international expansion to help it continue growing. The company already has stores in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico and Singapore.

Currently, Borders has less than 100 international stores in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico and Singapore. It plans to open a store this year in Malaysia. But it looks like the company is going to ramp up investments to accelerate the rate of store openings in selected markets.

Here’s a great quote that illustrates how quickly foreign revenues can grow from zero to significant…

    In 2003, the international business made a profit for the first time of $100,000. The final profits for this year will be released Thursday, but the company has said it will earn between $4 million and $6 million and the expectation is that international stores will be as profitable as domestic stores by the end of the decade or sooner.

    In 2003, Borders had total profits of $120 million, so the $100,000 profit from the international business was negligible. But this year’s profit from stores abroad will contribute significantly to the company’s earnings.

Josefowicz also noted that the success of their Puerto Rico stores may lead them to look at additional Spanish markets. And speaking of Spanish, I expect Amazon to launch a Spanish-language site for the US market within the next 18 months. This will be a nice complement to Borders Spanish-market efforts.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.