Bargain bookseller British Bookshops & Stationers has collapsed into administration, becoming the first retail casualty of 2011.

The 51-store retailer, which employs about 300 people,  hit the wall after a difficult second half of the year.

Its demise comes only a year after managing director John Simpson bought the business from private equity investor Endless.

Simon Appell, Fraser Gray and Stuart Mackellar of Zolfo Cooper have been appointed administrators and have brought in restructuring and stock disposal specialist GA Europe to run British Bookshops’ stores while future options are considered.

British Bookshops earlier this month began refusing deliveries from publishers, some of whom had also expressed concern about non-payment of bills.

Last October GA Europe bought Suits You owner Speciality Retail Group. It was subsequently put into administration and GA ran the closure programme.