Friday, May 27, 2011

Book industry “re-invigorated” by Whitcoulls sale.

Press release from Booksellers New Zealand
New Zealand’s book industry will be re-invigorated by the retention of the Whitcoulls and Borders brands according to Booksellers NZ Chairman, Hamish Wright.

“The announcement of the sale of the remaining New Zealand assets of RED Group Retail ends a time of considerable uncertainty for the industry  as well as the book buying public,” said Mr Wright noting that 57 Whitcoulls and five Borders shops have been sold to the Pascoe Group owned by  Anne and David Norman of Auckland.

Booksellers New Zealand is the trade association representing 350 bookshops throughout New Zealand.

“We can look forward to a restocking of those bookshops throughout the country which have been depleted during the period REDGroup Retail was in voluntary administration.  This is particularly good news for New Zealand publishers,” said Mr Wright.

“Good news too for the 900 employees.  While it appears there may be some rationalisation of stores, any wholesale loss of jobs is clearly not going to happen,” said Mr Wright.

The sale of the remaining assets to the James Pascoe Group follows the previously announced sales of Whitcoulls New Zealand airport stores to LS Travel Retail Pacific and the Bennetts Brand to a company headed by New Zealander Geoff Spong.

“We are talking positively to the new owners of those stores and we are confident that they intend to continue and probably grow their involvement with the industry as it continues to face challenges and opportunities with the onset of digitisation and the threat of cheap overseas online book stores. We would also hope that they will expand their involvement with Booksellers Book Tokens, the guaranteed and most widely available and redeemable book token in the country.

“New Zealanders are book lovers and I feel very confident that the retail book sector – now largely returned to New Zealand ownership - will be able to serve and nurture the country’s passion for books of all genres and price levels,” said Mr Wright

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