Festive woe prompts rethink at bookseller
Ferocious discounting by booksellers over Christmas hit sales at Ottakar's and tough conditions have prompted the retailer to overhaul its operations.

There was zero like-for-like growth for the four weeks to January 7, and over the 23 weeks to the same date there was a decline of 4.9 per cent.

Chairman Philip Dunne expects the difficult trading climate to continue for the rest of the year, and said: 'The company is re-evaluating its operations to meet new challenges and opportunities.'

Details will be unveiled with full-year results in March, but the retailer is already acting to cut costs, boost margins and seek out new sales openings.

As a result, there will be 'some write-off in systems development, stock and impairment and dilapidation cost for some stores' assets at the end of the current year'.

Ottakar's is the subject of a takeover by Waterstone's owner HMV. The deal has been referred to the Competition Commission, which is expected to report in May.