The Borders bookstore in downtown Minneapolis will close Feb. 2, vacating space in the Block E retail complex that it has tried to sublease for the past year.

The store at 6th Street and Hennepin Avenue S. has been an "underperforming outlet," according to Kolleen O'Meara, spokeswoman for Borders Group Inc. based in Ann Arbor, Mich. She said the bookstore has 42 employees, some of whom could be transferred to the chain's eight other Twin Cities-area locations.

The bookstore has occupied about 24,000 square feet in Block E since the complex opened in 2002. O'Meara said Borders had been unable to find a tenant to sublease the space. Representatives of McCaffery Interests Inc., the building's Chicago-based owner, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Borders is the latest of several downtown retailers to announce plans to leave. The others include Williams-Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, Badiner Jewelers, and Nate's Clothing. The Polo Ralph Lauren store on Nicollet Mall closed last summer.

Borders, the nation's second-largest bookseller, has been been closing underperforming stores in its Borders and Waldenbooks chains as part of a turnaround plan that also has seen it sell its operations in Britain and Ireland. For the third quarter ended Nov. 3, the company reported a loss of $161.1 million, including a $116.5 million charge related to the sale of the overseas stores. Without the one-time charge, Borders would have lost $39.1 million, or 66 cents a share, for the quarter. Revenue for the period was $813.6 million, up 5 percent compared with the third quarter of 2006. Susan Feyder • 612-673-1723