The Book People’s c.e.o William Wellesley said the retailer has “once again become profitable and successful” after its EBITDA increased by £4.3m in 2015.
In a tumultuous year in which the retailer underwent a significant restructure, closed it Coventry warehouse and moved operations to Haydock, reduced its number of distributors in its Index division and cut its overall workforce by one third, the retailer’s revenue dropped from £78.8m in 2014 to £73.0m in the year to the end of 31st December 2015.
However, the retailer said this decline in sales was “anticipated and planned” following the reduction in field workforce and issuing fewer mail catalogues.
Gross margin was £33.9m in 2015, down from £35.2m a year earlier, while EBITDA was £4.6m, compared with £0.3m in 2014 - although this figure excludes £5.3m of charges relating to stock impairment, restructuring costs and write downs.
Losses have recovered from £13.4 in 2014 to £3.4m in 2015, though, the accounts filed at Companies House showed, and loss after tax was £5.4m. Employees at The Book People, which operates an e-commerce website along with a distribution business going into offices and work places selling books, also fell by a third in 2015, from 438 to 284 in the year.
The Book People, founded by Seni Glaister and Ted Smart in 1988, was acquired by Endless LLP in 2014, with Glaister steeping aside in June 2015, replaced by former Molton Brown m.d Wellesley.
Wellesley told The Bookseller he was “pleased” with the company’s financial performance in 2015.
“These results stand the company in good stead to complete the full year effect of these improvements in 2016, to ensure EBITDA is materially further improved,” he said. “The Book People has once again become a profitable and successful business and we are extremely excited its future potential.”
The company estimates it has around 400 people selling stock to customers in work places around the country and its online operation, offering up to 75% off hand picked selections of titles, was growing.
“We operate in a different area to Amazon and are continuing to make sure that our customers receive the very best hand-picked great value book and gift products with a fantastic personal service,” Wellesley said. “Books are still the cornerstone of our business and represent over 90% of our sales.”
He added that the company was looking forward to unveiling the winner of its first Bedtime Story Competition in November, promising to illustrate and publish 10,000 copies of the winners story.