Minister visits firm in tour of exporting success stories

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Foreign minister Philip Hammond joined Conservative parliamentary candidate Caroline Ansell to visit Gardners Books in Hampden Park on Monday.

It was part of his tour, to visit exporting success stories in Britain, and find out how they do it.

Gardners Books is the largest book wholesaler in the UK, and does business all over the world.

Mr Hammond explained why he decided to visit the Hampden Park firm.

He said, “What we’re trying to do is look at British success stories. How we are going to keep Britain on the road to economic success. Exporting is always important for Britain.”

He said exporting is ‘vital’ in the road to economic recovery, so visiting those who are doing it right would help him lead other private firms in the same direction.

Mr Hammond also placed a lot of importance on employment and creating jobs, in Britain’s road to recovery, something he said Gardeners Books does well.

“For most people the key thing that matters to them, is they have got the security of a job, knowing they can keep a roof over their head and feed their family,” he said.

He said there was a reason why Gardners Books continued to create new jobs.

“It is about staying competitive,” said Mr Hammond. “What they have done here is increasing automated systems to keep costs down.

“They have been expanding their business. It does not mean fewer jobs, it is a competitive business that can grow more and more jobs. More skilled jobs. That has been their experience here.

“The automated process has taken out labour but then the business has been able to expand, they have been creating jobs consequently for 30 years and hoping they will continue for the next 30 years.”

Bob Jackson, Commercial Director at Gardners Books said, “We were delighted to host a visit from Philip Hammond in his role as Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs, to be able to demonstrate how Gardners’ growth in international markets continues to gain momentum.

“By providing a high quality, reliable service supplying over 500,000 different stock lines to retailers throughout the world, we have established the company as the largest exporter of English language books, DVDs and music outside of the USA.

“As emerging markets develop, such as China, Brazil and India, it is very beneficial to have the support of government in working to address the logistical and financial issues facing a growing UK company as we increase our export sales.”

Gardners Books is a family business which moved to Eastbourne in 1994. It is a book and entertainment wholesaler, selling books, CDs and DVDs to independent bookshops, supermarkets and online firms like Amazon.

The firm employs 800 staff in Eastbourne, and 1,000 in total.