Business as usual at troubled firm’s Eastbourne shop

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THE FUTURE of an Eastbourne bookshop is uncertain after a south east chain plunged into administration.

More than 300 jobs are at risk at the firm’s shops, including at the outlet in Terminus Road, as recovery specialists Zolfo Cooper were brought in to negotiate the sale of British Bookshops and Stationers on Thursday (January 13).

Administrators blamed tough trading conditions and said bad weather over the Christmas period also contributed to poor sales.

Staff at the bookshop in the Arndale Centre, which is holding a VAT freeze, assured the Herald it was business as usual and referred all enquiries to their head office. British Bookshops and Stationers’ website was off-line and said it was temporarily unavailable.

Administrators said shops will remain open and continue to trade while a buyer is sought. No redundancies are planned in the immediate future.

Simon Appell, partner of Zolfo Cooper said, “Thursday’s appointment is unfortunately the result of cash flow difficulties suffered by the business, coupled with the tough trading climate for retailers and especially booksellers at present.

“This is an attractive company with a large network of stores across the South of England and we have already received expressions of interest from potential buyers.

“In the meantime, we would like to thank staff for their patience and continued professionalism during this difficult period.”

British Bookshops and Stationers, also known as Sussex Stationers, runs 51 bookshops across the South East with more than 20 in Sussex. Arndale Centre manager Bill Plumridge said, “It was disappointing to learn that British Bookshops and Stationers had gone into administration and we hope a buyer for the company can be found as soon as possible.

“In the past week retailers have actually performed well compared to last year as in 2010 we were experiencing adverse weather conditions.

“This is traditionally a quieter time of year but we are positive about the future.”