SINAGPORE- The new Borders Singapore bookstore has opened at Westgate mall in Jurong East but it looks and feels like a Popular bookstore.
Upon entering the store, customers are greeted by rows of educational guides on sale, which are the mainstay of any Popular bookshop.
Customers were disappointed that the new Borders Singapore store lacked the cosy seating areas and diverse selection of the former Borders store at Wheelock Place.
That store was originally part of a United States-based chain known for its reading couches, bistro, and book and music events. Operated after 2008 by an Australian group, REDgroup Retail, it closed down in 2011.
Popular Holdings, known for its textbook and stationery retail stores, acquired the right to use the Borders Singapore name last year for an undisclosed sum. The 8,000 sq ft Borders Singapore bookstore on the fourth floor of Westgate is smaller than Prologue, Popular's former flagship lifestyle bookstore.
Prologue opened in Ion Orchard in 2009 but vacated its 12,000 sq ft space this August, citing rising rentals and lower profit margins.
Customer Ariff Razak, 29, an operations technician at Senoko Power Station, said: "I used to patronise the store at Wheelock Place. This is smaller and it lacks space for readers to sit and enjoy the books. I miss the previous one where there were a lot of chairs and seating corners."
Sales were brisk, according to the owners, with about 1,000 people signing up on opening day on Monday for a $20 annual membership which gives them discounts on merchandise and cafe purchases valid only at the store.