Future unclear for Blinkbox books

Future unclear for Blinkbox books

The future of Blinkbox books is unclear following the sale of Blinkbox movies to TalkTalk today (8th January).

Tesco's trading statement for the 19 weeks to 3rd January revealed that Blinkbox had been sold to mobile and internet company TalkTalk, as mooted at the end of December.

However, a spokesperson for TalkTalk told The Bookseller the company had only bought Blinkbox movies from Tesco, leaving the future of the digital books and music arm of the platform unclear. 

A spokesperson for Tesco told The Bookseller: “We are in discussions with a number of other businesses on the sale of Blinkbox books and Blinkbox music.”

Entertainment news site The Drum estimated TalkTalk's purchase price for Blinkbox movies and Tesco Broadband at £5m.

The news comes as Tesco reported sales were down by 2.9% like-for-like in comparison to the same three months last year. However sales were only down 0.3% over the Christmas trading period and up 0.1% including fuel.

General merchandise saw positive like-for-like sales growth over Christmas and Black Friday promotions resulted in the highest week of sales on record for Tesco Direct, the company said, contributing to 22.2% like-for-like sales growth in online merchandise for the Christmas period.

The embattled retailer also revealed it would be forced to close 43 unprofitable stores in the UK, although a Tesco spokesperson told The Bookseller the majority of these would be smaller convenience Tesco Express stores rather than superstores, suggesting the closures would impact less on book sales, with books mainly stocked at larger Tesco stores. However, the company is also shelving plans to open another 49 new super stores, which would have been likely to sell books. 

In a raft of new announcements, Tesco also revealed it had appointed Matt Davies, group chief executive of Halfords Group plc, as its new c.e.o for the UK and Ireland business form next June.

It will also consolidate head office locations, closing Cheshunt in 2016 and making Welwyn Garden City the UK and Group centre and deliver savings of £250m per year by restructuring central overheads, simplifying store management structures and increasing working-hour flexibility to reduce overheads by 30%.

Tesco is currently being investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority over its accounting procedures.