Campus bookselling chain Follett in the US has made 570 people redundant as part of a move to shift more full-time positions to part time.
Tom Kline, a spokesperson for the 980-strong chain, told The Bookseller that the 570 people who had lost their full-time positions last week would be able to reapply for part-time jobs and added that he hoped the “majority of people would do so".
Follett's move has been designed to remove staff from back office positions in order to focus on shop floor bookselling, he said. “What we are in the process of doing is implementing a strategy which really gets retail stores focusing on customer service and delivering to students the retail experience they expect,” Kline said.
“This move is about adjusting our retail store full time to part-time ratio in terms of staffing. What we are doing is converting full-time positions in select stores to part-time positions because in some places the full time to part time ratios have fallen behind what they should be. This will allow each of the stores to manage their hours in a much more flexible way.”
Kline added that the Follett stores had increasingly stocked more university merchandise products alongside textbooks over the last year. It has also invested over $200m in distribution and its e-commerce platform, which has recently concentrated on allowing third-party sellers to vend from its platform.
The Follett book store chain was founded by Charles Follett in 1873 in Illinois and is still a family-owned business run by the Follett Corporation. It employs around 10,000 people and its annual revenues are $2.7bn.