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Eason hit by British Bookshops disposal
01.01.70 | Graeme Neill
Eason's failed foray into bookselling in Britain appears to have cost it heavily with the business making a loss of €10.1m (£8.29m) in 2009.
According to the Irish Independent, the book chain posted the loss in the 12 months to the end of January 2010. The paper said the loss was "largely" due to it selling the British Bookshops chain to investment firm Endless in 2009. Sales also fell 16.4% to €313.6m (£257.8m) during the same period.
However, the loss was a better performance than that in 2008 when it lost €21.1m (£17.3m) because of impairments to the value of its property portfolio.
In an interview with the newspaper, managing director Conor Whelan said the bookseller was implementing a new retail strategy during the next six to 12 months. He said: "For shareholders, the light at the end of the tunnel is if we've hit the bottom in terms of the declining property market and if we're at the bottom of the trading cycle and then moving forward, we're pointing to the core business being profitable and sustainable."
An online revamp is also mooted by Whelan but he concedes the retailer can never be a rival to Amazon. He adds the chain will focus more on children's books, travel, mind, body and spirit, adult and Irish authors. He said: "We tend to focus quite heavily on new titles in our book sales, and on the mass market. I'd like to see us develop more of a specialism around key categories.
"We need to be less of a generalist and create more of a unique selling point around particular categories. Is that enough? Done the right way, and given the leading market position we hold, I think yes, it is."