British Bookshops and Stationers has put most of its 600-plus shop staff in consultation after making nearly a third of its head office staff redundant last month.

The bookseller, bought by private equity firm Endless in May, cut 30 jobs out of 100 in June, at its warehouse and head office in Brighton.

New chief executive John Simpson – parachuted into the company by Endless - said he has taken the action to “get the business in shape so it doesn’t go bust”.

Simpson said he does not know how many jobs may be cut as a result of the consultation, which is likely to last until the end of this month.

Simpson said: “We want to save as many jobs as we can. We want as little pain as possible. Endless bought it to turn it around and we’re making a go of it.”

He added that he is “moderately optimistic” of the chain’s future and has no plans to close any of the 39 stores.

The retailer is considering options to preserve as many jobs as possible. It is looking at early retirement, voluntary redundancy and sabbaticals. Simpson said all staff have been informed.

Irish retailer Eason sold British Bookshops for an undisclosed sum to Endless, which also owns discount book retailer The Works, which it bought out of administration a year ago.