'Changing' Blackwell's records increased loss

'Changing' Blackwell's records increased loss

Blackwell's has reported a loss of £2.8m for the year to end June 2013, a rise of 87% on last year's figure (£1.5m). Total turnover was £64.6m, including Library Services, a drop of 11% on 2012's £72m.

Blackwell's said the results reflected the company's "significant investment into its digital future and the closure of its Library Services business". It also said that its core academic bookshops and online business had continued to outperform the overall books market, with "a flat sales performance comparing extremely favourably to trade-wide industry figures".

Chief executive David Prescott said: "Blackwell's is going through a revolutionary period of change and is investing in a digital future. It is an exciting time for the company and the Board firmly believe that a sustainable future for the business is now within its sights. This will then allow the ambition of an employee owned business to become a reality."

He said the closure of the loss-making Library Services division in April was "a hard decision but a key step in transporting the business to become a profitable one", adding: "The clear strategy is to focus on our core customers, developing strong partnerships with key academic institutions and providing world class customer service. This is all underpinned by the company's outstanding heritage and brand. This combination is the perfect foundation for investment in a digital future."

Investments over the year have included appointing Matthew Cashmore as digital director; the production of a Blackwell's app and new websites for each bookshop; and the opening of a new base in London's Old Street Roundabout for digital research and development.

Blackwell's has also further developed its academic relationships with partner universities through bursary opportunities, including with Manchester Metropolitan University and Queen's University, Belfast. New bursary schemes have been agreed for the current academic year at the university of Reading, Cardiff Metropolitan University and Sheffield Hallam University. Blackwell's has opened new academic bookshops at Lancaster University and Queen's University, while acquiring former Waterstone's shops at the universities of Bradford, Derby and Keele.