British Bookshops and Stationers (BBS) entered administration yesterday, with restructuring specialist GA Europe saying the company has struggled for business as growing numbers of people purchase their books online.
Gavin George, Managing Director of the liquidation experts, told Retail Gazette that technological advances in the last few years, and the fact major UK grocers now regularly stock books, have also added to a negative impact on booksellers’ sales.
Simon Appell, Fraser Gray and Stuart Mackellar of Zolfo Cooper have been appointed as administrators for the 51-store strong retailer, which has shops across the south and south-east of England.
BBS was the subject of a management buyout early in 2010 but it has struggled ever since, with the Christmas trading period disappointingly lower than expected.
Similar problems to those encountered by the book specialist have also been felt by more renowned high street names such as HMV Group, which owns DVD and music retailer HMV and bookseller Waterstone’s.
Last week, the group announced that it would be closing 60 stores across the UK as it tries to adapt to a changing marketplace.
Waterstone’s LFL sales in the ten weeks to January 1st 2011 were down 2.1 per cent compared to the same period one year before.
Commenting on the plight of BBS and the wider market it operates in, George said: “It is a tough trading environment at present and the book sector has declined considerably.”