Borders pledges to help staff hit by the closure of five shops

Borders UK, the bookshop chain, is closing down five of its biggest stores including the Oxford Street, London branch, because of tough trading.

Philip Downer, chief executive, said yesterday that the group is selling the five to a fashion retailer because the leases were coming up for sale. The shops, including those in Swindon, St Albans and in retail parks near Dublin and Cardiff will close in August. Mr Downer said the group would do all it can to help staff who will lose their jobs.

Mr Downer confirmed that the group, bought by entrepreneur Luke Johnson two years ago for £20m, is working with Clearwater Corporate Finance to find new investment. "Trading is really tough but we are doing all the right things to cut back and save money where we can," he said. He would not comment on whether Clearwater had prepared an information memorandum for sale.

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