After a reorganization that involved a round of layoffs, Borders announced in October 2000 plans to open 55 new stores over the next six to eight years, essentially doubling its portfolio from 350 superstore locations to about 700. The company announced that it expected the expansion to cost about $130 million annually. Chapter 4: The Trouble With Waldenbooks But as Borders embarked on an aggressive growth project for its superstores, its smaller-format Waldenbooks remained a sore spot.
Dwindling mall traffic in the early part of the decade significantly crippled the chain. In 1992 Waldenbooks held a 9.5% market share, but by 2002 that foothold had dropped to just 4.8%. Borders began the new decade with 869 Waldenbooks stores, but within two years, that number had dropped to 778. Then in 2004 Borders began converting select Waldenbooks into Borders Express locations. Over the next several years the company continued to shutter underperforming Waldenbooks, reducing its footprint to 300 in 2007, then further cutting its store base in 2009. There are currently only about 150 Waldenbooks/Borders Express stores in existence.