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Bertrams settles supply disruption
01.01.70 | Philip Jones
Bertrams managing director Michael Neil has said that the wholesaler is once again trading normally, after last week's disruption in book supply prompted by the cancellation of some publishers' credit insurance covering the Woolworth's-owned wholesaler.
Neil would not comment on the negotiations with publishers and distributors but said that the "conversations have concluded and we are now trading normally”. "From our perspective and from our customers’ there hasn’t been any disruption to our service," he said. "Our warehouse is full of books and sales have been better than ever. There has been staggering year on year turnover growth during September."
Last week The Bookseller reported that major distributors and publishers, including Hachette Distribution, which comprises Bookpoint and LBS, had temporarily suspended supply as they negotiated tighter credit terms. Neither side would comment on the specifics, but it is understood that Hachette has recommenced distribution, with new temporary terms in place.
Publishers spoken to by The Bookseller remained cautious, but were supportive of Bertrams' strong position within the weaker Woolworth's Group business—Woolies' share price has fallen by a quarter since last week, and is now trading at just above 3p, valuing the group at just over £60m. Alastair Williams, m.d of small press Summersdale, said: "We are treading a very careful path."
Neil was bullish in the face of the wider crunch. "We are doing fantastically well. We are profitable, are having great sales growth and are cash generative. We are going to have a great Christmas."