The Book People has entered into administration, putting 400 jobs at risk.
Toby Underwood and Zelf Hussain, of PWC, have now been appointed as joint administrators of the bookseller.
According to PWC, the administration is a result of the “difficult” trading environment that the business has been experiencing, combined with “increasing working capital pressures”.
Founded in 1988, the business is primarily an online retailer, with over 76% of sales through its online platform with the balance of sales via employed and self-employed distributors who deliver mobile book school fairs and buses, and pop up stores in workplaces.
The business has an annual turnover in excess of £50m, employs 393 staff and sells over 17 million children’s books each year – approximately three books for every child of primary school age in the UK.
Underwood, restructuring partner for PwC, said: “I can confirm that the business continues to trade and at this point in time no redundancies are currently envisaged whilst we rapidly explore a sale of the business. The intention is to fulfil and deliver all customer orders received and accepted.”
He added: “I appreciate the obvious concerns that staff in particular will have as we move towards Christmas.
“Whilst the administrators have funding to meet the payroll for December, the longer-term prospects for the business, staff, customers and suppliers will clearly be dependent upon whether a sale can be secured.”