Collapsed chain British Bookshops and Stationers could be revived under its existing management, which is understood to be attempting a second management buyout within a year.
The 51-store chain, which appointed Zolfo Cooper as administrator last week, said “cash flow difficulties coupled with the tough trading climate for retailers and especially booksellers at present” had hit it hard.
The retailer’s managing director John Simpson is thought to be mulling a management buyout. Sources said the business was trading “OK” and was on an improving trend, and likely to record a profit this year after narrowing operating losses before exceptional items from £2m in 2009 to £500,000 in 2010. Sources said the pre-Christmas snow affected the retailer badly.
Zolfo Cooper described the retailer as “an attractive company with a large network of stores across the south of England” and added that it had received a “number of expressions of interest and negotiations are ongoing”. Interested parties are thought to be trade buyers, as opposed to private equity firms.
Retailers including discount bookseller The Works are understood to be interested in some stores.
Sources said a deal to sell the business as a going concern had to be done “fairly quickly”. Sources said creditors “want certainty” but that some publishers have been “very supportive” and are “happy to wait to see what the outcome is”.
Restructuring firm GA Europe has been hired by Zolfo Cooper to run the stores while the administrator considers “all possible options”. GA Europe is understood to be the preferred creditor after it bought the debt from previous owner Endless.
Simpson declined to comment.