Thursday, February 17, 2011

Borders, Angus & Robertson, Whitcoulls go bust

Eli Greenblat, Sydney Morning Herald, February 17, 2011

The collapse of Borders and Angus & Robertson leaves the future of bookstores in doubt, says Business Day's Chris Zappone.

The book chains Borders, Angus & Robertson and the Whitcoulls chain in New Zealand have been placed into voluntary administration by its private equity owners only a day after the Borders company in the US also collapsed.

The local companies have a combined staff of about 2500.

The failure of Borders in Australia is not linked to the woes facing its namesake in America - they are owned by different corporations - but both have suffered from the rise of internet book sales and constrained consumer spending.

Dark day ... Borders and the iconic Angus & Robertson have suffered from the rise of internet book sales.

REDgroup, a business that controls a portfolio of retail operations in Australia and New Zealand, is controlled by private equity firm PEP and has had a troubled few years during which it has breached a number of lending covenants with its banks.

BusinessDay has learnt that REDgroup was forced to call in administrators to the businesses this afternoon following a board meeting. Although its flagship Borders franchise is expected to remain open in the short term, its future in Australia and the jobs of its staff are now in doubt.

The outlook is similarly grim for Angus & Robertson, which has a corporate history in Australia that dates back to 1886 when David Angus and George Robertson opened a bookshop in Sydney.

New Zealand-based Whitcoulls is of even older vintage. Originally named Whitcombe & Tombs after its founders joined their businesses in 1882, according to the company's website.

More at Sydney Morning Herald. 

And in The Age.

NZ Herald - Whitcoulls stores face closure

And at - Borders, Whitcoulls under administration

And in The Bookseller - Australia's largest bookselling chains fall into administration


Donald said...

Thanks for this news, you were the first media in NZ as far as I know to break the story. Your byline - the first word on the New Zealand book scene - is endorsed again.Those of us in the book world here have come to rely on you.

Kiwi Abroad said...

Very sad times for the book trade as a whole.

Anonymous said...

Goodness I didn't think it was that bad here! Where will we buy our e-books now?

transpressnz said...

we've had plenty to say on this subject on our blog - any regular reader of that shouldn't be surprised.

Kathryn said...

There’s only one thing that’s going to get those bookshops and their staff through this and that’s $$$ in the tills. Let’s get shopping people!