‘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.
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