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Foyles to make redundancies
11.02.13 | Philip Jones
Foyles is to make up to eight employees redundant as it seeks to "counter the downturn in sales" and scale its operating costs so that they are "proportionate to the business".
The news comes as the iconic bookseller launches the first of its two "bookshop workshops'" at which it will crowd-source ideas about bookshops in preparation for its relocation along Charing Cross Road next year.
In a separate announcement, Tom Nind, Foyles' operations manager, is, after 12 years with the company, leaving to pursue other opportunities.
Foyles said it had entered into a consultation process with staff in its back office and administrative departments, including central stock management, accounts, buying and marketing. It said it expected that there could be up to eight redundancies, comprising full and part-time positions, at its head office.
In an email sent to staff chief executive Sam Husain said: "In common with other retail businesses and, indeed the industry, we need to take timely measures to counter the downturn in sales and scale our operating costs proportionate to the business."
The development highlights the financial constraints bookshops face when trading on the high street, as competition from online retailers intensifies and the e-book market grows. Two weeks ago Husain wrote an open letter to the trade calling on publishers to look at options for supporting high street bookshops, including improving margins to independent bookshops.
In December, Foyles reported an annual sales increase of 2.8% to £23.5m to 30th June 2012 (£22.8m in previous year), but with annual profits falling 25.5% to £152,552 (£204,681 in 2011). It was the fourth consecutive year the business had recorded a profit. However, over Christmas, sales were down 2% in value year-on-year, with "bricks and mortar" sales, excluding sales from the Foyles website, down 3.7% on 2011.
The Foyles Bookshops Workshops, announced at FutureBook last year and being supported by The Bookseller, comprise two half-day events at which about 100 people from across the trade will meet and discuss how high street bookshops can evolve. Full reports from the two days will be published in The Bookseller.