WHSmith has bought 22 shops and intellectual property from collapsed books chain British Bookshops & Stationers for £1.05m.
- Brighton (London Rd)
- Brighton (Western Rd)
- Tunbridge Wells
Bargain bookseller British Bookshops & Stationers collapsed into administration in early January, becoming the first retail casualty of 2011. The 51-store retailer hit the wall after a difficult second half of the year and Zolfo Cooper was appointed administrator.
WHSmith said its High Street division bought the shops, but that no stock had been purchased.
Arden Partners analyst Nick Bubb said WHSmith had “cherry picked” the best of the stores and will trade them under that brand name for the time being, in places such as Chichester, Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells.
He said the retailer expects to make a £1m annual profit out of the stores in due course, “so the payback on the modest investment is going to be huge”.
Bubb added: “This won’t move the dial in terms of the group outlook, but it does underline the fact that the mature High Street division does have some legs and growth opportunities, even if all the long-term growth is coming from the Travel division and the Airports.”
Restructuring firm GA Europe, which purchased the debt of the retailer before it collapsed into administration, will assist administrator Zolfo Cooper with the ongoing trading of the remaining 28 stores, whilst the administrators continue to seek expressions of interest.
Zolfo Cooper partner Simon Appell said: “We are pleased to have been able to safeguard the iconic British Bookshops & Stationers brand through the sale of twenty two stores.
“We would like to thank all staff across the business for their continued professionalism during this difficult period and wish British Bookshops & Stationers all the best moving forwards.”