British Bookshops and Stationers shops still open for business

ADMINISTRATORS handling British Bookshops and Stationers have denied stores are shutting despite signs in the shops advertising a closing down sale.

They reaffirmed the businesses were trading as usual and stressed no redundancies had been made at any stores.

However administrators at Zolfo Cooper said regrettably 40 staff at the head office and warehouse in Brighton were made redundant - around 13 per cent of its work force.

Zolfo Cooper partner Simon Appell said: “In order to protect the business and maintain its viability for potential buyers we’ve had to make this unfortunate and difficult decision.

“At this time, we would simply like to thank every member of staff for their professionalism, patience and dedication during what has been a difficult period.”

Zolfo Cooper said the closing down sales, or big stock clearance, was to maximise the value for potential buyers and attract more customers.

The administrators said they had to lose staff to continue trading and to maintain the value of the business for potential buyers.

Simon Appell, Fraser Gray, and Stuart Mackellar, Partners at recovery specialists Zolfo Cooper, were appointed joint administrators of British Bookshops and Stationers Limited (the Company) on January 13, 2010.

They are considering all possible options for the future of the company.

Expressions of interest have been received from potential buyers and the Joint Administrators are vigorously pursuing these at present.

The well known High Street retailer has five branches in the Sussex Express circulation area, with stores in Lewes, Seaford, Uckfield, Crowborough and Hailsham.

Zolfo Cooper blamed the company’s problems on cash flow difficulties, coupled with the tough trading climate for retailers and especially booksellers at present.

The company operates 51 bookshops, with the majority across the South of England.

Its headquarters are based at Hollingbury Industrial Estate in Brighton.

British Bookshops and Stationers employs approximately 300 staff.

It was founded as Sussex Stationers in 1938.

Book retailer Borders went into administration in 2009, while stationers and general retailer Woolworths was another high profile casualty of 2008.

Management are thought to be mulling over a buy out of British Bookshops and Stationers.