Coop December Sales 'Not Great'; Store Offers 10% Textbook Rebate

As students waited in lines of 20 or more yesterday to buy books at the Harvard Cooperative Society, store officials had a lot of money on their minds.

Unfortunately, not all of it was in their pockets. Coop president Jeremiah P. Murphy Jr. '73 said yesterday that 1992 winter holiday sales were "OK," but "not great."

However, Murphy said, he real winter holidays for the Coop are these days of the semi-annual ritual of buying textbooks and other class essentials.

So, in the holiday spirit, the Coop is offering a 10 percent rebate on all textbooks purchased by February 17 for members who bring back their receipts the last week of the month, Murphy said.

The Coop president called the December holiday shopping season "a funny time" for the Coop, since students go home for the holidays and sales figures are artifically low.


"Our Christmas is right now," Murphy said. It is unclear, however, what kind of gift students will receive this year in the form of the shrinking annual Coop rebate.

The Coop rebate, an annual percentage of Coop purchases returned to members at the end of each academic year, hit an all-time low of 1.1 percent last fall, down from 5.0 percent in 1991 and 5.5 percent in 1990.

This is the first time the Coop has offered textbook refunds. In the past, the Coop has offered only a ten percent discount on pre-priced paper-back books. The new refund will be issued in addition to the paperback discount. "We're saying, 'Hey students, you're important to us. We want to give you back something now.'" Murphy said.

Despite the management's proclaimed good intentions, some students were skeptical of the new plan and of coop officials in general.

John N. Hourigan '93, buying books yesterday for a science core course, said the refund wouldn't be needed" if they didn't stick it to us in the first place"

Murphy acknowledged that credibility has sometimes been a problem for his company. "Everyone has the perception that we're trying to rip off students," Murphy said