Bertram, the book wholesaler formerly owned by collapsed retailer Woolworths, has been sold to Smiths News for £8.6m.

Smiths News said the acquisition is in line with its strategy of “broadening its operational base with activities that complement Smiths News group's core operation of newspaper and magazine distribution”.

It said it expects the acquisition to be earnings enhancing in the first full financial year of ownership.

Smiths News will plough£7m into Bertram over the period to 31 August, 2009, in order to increase stock availability and thereby customer service.

Smiths News chief executive Mark Cashmore said: “We believe this represents an excellent strategic opportunity for Smiths News to broaden our business and to utilise further our specialist distribution skill set in the UK.”

In the year to February 3, 2008, Bertram reported sales of£122.5m, and pre-tax profit of£2.6m.