England

Interest shown in troubled British Bookshops chain

Books for sale in a bookshop
Image caption The store had a tough Christmas due to the bad weather leading up to it

Expressions of interest from potential buyers have been received after Sussex-based book chain British Bookshops was placed into administration.

Administrators from restructuring group Zolfo Cooper said on Thursday the firm would continue to trade as normal, and no job cuts had been announced.

Simon Appell, a partner at the group, said it was an "attractive company".

The firm, based in Hollingbury, has 51 bookshops and about 300 staff across Sussex, Surrey, Essex and Hampshire.

'All possible options'

It was put into administration following cash flow problems and tough trading conditions, particularly due to the bad weather before Christmas.

Zolfo Cooper said "all possible options" for the future of the company would be considered.

The company started life as Sussex Stationers and grew during the 1980s and 1990s into a regional chain.

It was sold to Irish booksellers Eason and Sons and was again sold in May 2009 to private equity firm Endless, which installed a new management team.

Mark Froud, chief executive of business group Sussex Enterprise, said he thought the book shops and staff within them would be attractive to potential buyers, but of more concern would be the people based at the central office.

"If you were buying a business that is where you would look first to reduce your cost base," he said.

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