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Friday, 14 January 2011

British Bookshops in Administration

British Bookshops, the book chain with 51 stores across the country and employing 300 staff, has gone into administration following difficult trading conditions.

Administrators from Zolfo Cooper said the company would continue to trade as normal, and no job cuts have been announced.

British Bookshops' administration has taken many in the trade by surprise according to thebookseller website. The chain was thought to have had a very poor Christmas, a belief confirmed by its administrator. Its website stopped trading at the weekend.

The administrators are looking for a buyer. It has been reported that publishers have halted all supplies to the chain.

It is not clear who appointed the administrators at this stage or exactly why. However, their banks could have called in their debt and so appoint administrators. To see how the bank can do this have a look at our detailed administration guide page. Alternatively, they could have been served a winding up petition which could have mean't that winding up or administration was the only likely option. Although, no winding up petition has been advertised yet, which is usually the tipping point.

Was a CVA or company voluntary arrangement considered? A CVA will only work if the directors recognize the problems early and take appropriate action. A CVA may well of allowed the company to source books from the publishers going forward and multiple branches could have been closed if neccessary. Of course, a sudden collapse in sales over christmas is difficult to predict but we suspect that this may of been the last straw.

We blogged on the subject of retailers struggling recently here with some case studies of how a CVA can help retailers.

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