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ANN ARBOR, MI-Dealing with falling same-store sales, Borders Group says it is testing a new strategy for its 700-store Waldenbooks chain. Ann Arbor-based Borders Group has lowered its third-quarter expectations to a loss of $0.01 to $0.03 per share.

Border’s, the nation’s second-largest bookseller, earlier had forecast earnings of $0.01 to $0.03 per share. Comparable-store sales in the third quarter declined by 1.9% at Borders stores and by 4.5% at Waldenbooks stores, company officials say.

The company is testing 35 Waldenbook stores as “Borders Express” stores at malls around the US, including at malls in Novi and Ann Arbor. Under the Borders nameplate, the company operates “superstores” — generally freestanding locations that offer music, videos and even cafes, along with books in an average of 15,000 sf. Most Waldenbooks stores are in malls, with an average 3,900 sf. The Borders Express locations will add CDs and DVDs, but will not have room for cafes, according to Borders spokeswoman Anne Roman.

She did not give a timetable on when Borders would make a decision on the eventual plans for the remaining Waldenbooks stores. Borders has closed 153 under-performing Waldenbooks locations since 2000 and now operates about 700 stores. Sales fell 3.7% in 2003.

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