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ANN ARBOR, MI-Borders Group Inc. will launch its first new concept store on Friday, right in neighboring Pittsfield Township, MI. The new store, while slightly larger at 29,000 sf than the company’s previous bookstores, has a brand new interior layout that focuses on technology assistance, comfort and themed media areas.

A company spokeswoman tells GlobeSt.com that this location is the first of 14 stores that will open across the country this year, which will all share the new concept idea. The firm has 1,100 stores worldwide operating with either the Borders or Waldenbooks names.

The new concept includes a Digital Center, says company CEO George Jones in a statement, where “customers can do everything from mix and make their own custom CD’s, download books and music, publish their own books, explore their family history and create photo books.” The center will have tech-savvy staff to help guide customers in using the offerings.

Other changes include more modern architecture and interior graphics, outdoor café seating and destination centers for certain categories, such as travel and cooking, of books, music, DVDs and more. “It’s a highly competitive market, and bookstores aren’t the only places where people are getting their media,” the spokeswoman says. “We wanted to be different, to be the headquarters for knowledge and entertainment.”

The company has been doing well for the past two quarters, according to its quarterly reports. For the Q3 ending Nov. 3, the book dealer reported a 1.1% increase in comp sales for Borders stores and a 3.6% increase in Waldenbooks stores, both domestic figures. The company plans to open fewer stores this year, however, as the firm opened 18 stores in 2007.

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