Blackwell’s revenue dropped in 2011, but the company continued to reduce its losses and told publishers it is “strategically placed to assist partner publishers in benefitting from the unprecedented changes taking place in the UK academic sector".
The academic bookselling chain has reported that in the year to 25th June 2011 turnover dropped by £31m to £77.02m, down 28.6% from its 2010 total of £107.87m, as a result of the disposal of the North American and Australian library services businesses to YBP Library Services, a division of Baker & Taylor. However, the company said “tight cost management” had enabled a reduction of £0.7m in operating loss, bringing the company’s losses to £5m, down from £5.7m last year, where it had already nearly halved its operating loss from the year before. Blackwell promised “further progress is being made in the current year".
It added: “In addition to the funding provided by Toby Blackwell Limited in the financial year ending June 2011, the directors have agreed further financial support from Toby Blackwell Limited to fund the working capital and investment requirements of the business on the basis of achievement of certain financial and operational initiatives.” The company’s goal is to continue to decentralise the business and to strive for profitability, when it plans to increase the responsibility of its employees by handing over stakes in the business to them.
Trevor Goul-Wheeker, Blackwell chairman, said: “This has been another difficult year for the book market with traditional bookshops facing continued competition from the internet in addition to significant economic and technology driven challenges. In view of these pressures, it is good to see the business make further progress and that progress must continue to deliver the board’s objective of handing over a sustainably profitable business to its employees.”
He added: “The book market is at an exciting and market-defining period and our employees’ recognised knowledge and ability to innovate will ensure Blackwell’s remains the leading name in academic bookselling in the UK. Change is never easy and I would like to congratulate and thank the incredible people that work in Blackwell’s for their endless support, enthusiasm and creativity.”
During the financial year, Blackwell was broken up into two separate business divisions each with its own management team, where David Prescott was promoted to managing director of Blackwell Bookshops & Online and Diane Kerr joined as managing director of Blackwell Library Services in July.