HAILSHAM: Customers miss out as gift vouchers are refused at shop tills

The firm's Hailsham branch
The firm's Hailsham branch

CUSTOMERS at the collapsed book chain British Bookshops and Stationers have been left stung after the store has refused to honour shoppers’ gift vouchers.

The high street retailer, which has a network of branches across Sussex including a store at the Quintins in Hailsham, brought in recovery specialists Zolfo Cooper on January 13 after the business went into administration.

But customers have will now join the queue of the shop’s creditors after the administrators said they will not honour vouchers bought in the run up to Christmas.

Shopper Stella Saunders, 67, who owns the Angler’s Cabin in St Mary’s Walk, told the Gazette she was shocked after staff at the Hailsham branch refused to let her redeem a £20 gift card on Saturday.

“One of my sons gave me a voucher for my birthday to spend on art materials, because he knows I like to paint,” she said.

“When I took my items to the counter and got out my gift voucher the member of staff said, ‘We are not allowed to take the gift tokens’, and she refused to redeem it and gave me an address to write to.

“It is ridiculous, they were actively selling these vouchers at Christmas.

“My son went and got that voucher in good faith.”

A spokesman for administrators Zolfo Cooper said it had taken the decision to preserve any liquidity in the business which it hopes to sell on.

“In our efforts to continue trading the business, it is vital that we realise the company’s complete assets.

“Subsequently, we have taken the difficult decision not to redeem vouchers issued prior to our appointment, at this time,” said a spokesman.

Simon Appell, partner at Zolfo Cooper, said the stores would continue trading while a buyer was found for the chain.

Bidders for the retailer had until yesterday (sTuesday), to submit their offers.