Massive job cuts at Germany's second biggest bookseller

Germany's second largest bookselling chain DBH is to make some 600 booksellers redundant across its three main businesses, Hugendubel, Buch Habel and Weltbild. The cuts are aimed at retaining the company's competitiveness in the face of massive structural changes in the German bookselling trade.

The company announced in early June that the Weltbild chain would lose 322 personnel or 20% of the workforce of 1,250. It has also been confirmed that Hugendubel and Habel will lose 285 bookshop jobs collectively. Additionally short-term contracts will not be renewed and the number of temporary workers drastically restricted, while the recruitment of trainees has also been put on hold. Especially hard hit are the Habel branches where 106 jobs are under threat, nearly a third of the total workforce.

At Weltbild it is thought that many of the remaining full-time staff have been presented with new contracts containing reduced working hours. In a statement Weltbild blamed the cuts with the ongoing shift of sales to the internet. From 1st July Weltbild branches will reduce customer service to a minimum by introducing a self-service oriented concept with staff working the tills only.

DBH was founded less than three years ago following the merger of specialist booksellers Hugendubel, Buch Habel and the bookselling operations of Verlagsgruppe Weltbild. DBH is the second-largest German bookselling operation behind market leader Thalia. Last year the company reported sales of €755m, up 6.2%. DBH is jointly owned by the Hugendubel family and Verlagsgruppe Weltbild GmbH. By the end of last year it operated a total of 503 branches in different formats in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.