In Brief

‘Amazon effect’ blamed as Book People enters administration

Independent book retailer has appointed advisers from PricewaterhouseCoopers

The online bookseller The Book People has gone into administration putting almost 400 jobs at risk.

The Surrey-based retailer, which was founded in 1988 by book enthusiasts Ted Smart and Seni Glaister, appointed advisers from PricewaterhouseCoopers as administrators yesterday.

A source close to the independent online bookseller, which also has pop-up stores, blamed “the Amazon effect” for its declining fortunes.

James Woolley, a partner at owners Endless, told Sky News the firm was “naturally disappointed” that its rescue efforts had failed.

“Over more than five years, we secured more than 300 jobs and appointed strong new management to modernise the business,” he said.

“Nonetheless, the well-documented challenges in the retail environment compounded by the strength of global online booksellers, has severely impacted operating cashflows over recent years.”

Toby Underwood, a joint administrator and a partner at PwC said “the intention is to fulfil and deliver all customer orders received and accepted”.

He added: “I appreciate the obvious concerns that staff in particular will have as we move towards Christmas. While the administrators have funding to meet the payroll for December, the longer-term prospects for the business, staff, customers and suppliers will clearly be dependent upon whether a sale can be secured.”

The business made sales of £71.5m in 2017, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Profits tumbled to £1.1m from £6.2m a year before. The company had more than £33m of debts at the time.

Earlier this year, new boss Claire Bayliss told The Bookseller that she planned a rebrand and a further restructure, to help the business move away from its “cheap” reputation to become “a brand with purpose”.

It is believed that a number of “credible” parties have expressed an interest in a takeover deal.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For a round-up of the most important business stories and tips for the week’s best shares - try The Week magazine. Start your trial subscription today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Recommended

How Netflix netted 200 million subscribers
The Crown season four Netflix
Behind the scenes

How Netflix netted 200 million subscribers

Virgin Orbit launches satellites into space in ‘historic’ test flight
Virgin Orbit Twitter
Why we’re talking about . . .

Virgin Orbit launches satellites into space in ‘historic’ test flight

The last supper: what happens to food that Tier 3 restaurants can’t dish out?
Food waste
In Depth

The last supper: what happens to food that Tier 3 restaurants can’t dish out?

EA races towards takeover of gaming rival Codemasters
A screenshot of the F1 2020 video game
In Brief

EA races towards takeover of gaming rival Codemasters

Popular articles

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 23 Jan 2021
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 23 Jan 2021

Tried and tasted: restaurant meal kits to eat at home
Santo Remedio
On the menu

Tried and tasted: restaurant meal kits to eat at home

Churchill bust ‘not on display’ in Biden’s Oval Office
Joe Biden in the Oval Office
In Brief

Churchill bust ‘not on display’ in Biden’s Oval Office

Free 6 issue trial then continue to