Hammicks closes Fleet Street store

Hammicks closes Fleet Street store

Hammicks Legal Information Services has closed its one remaining bricks and mortar shop on London's Fleet Street, described on its website as the largest legal bookshop in the world.

The shop, part of the John Smith and Son Group, finished trading at 1pm on Friday (13th February).

However Hammicks - which specialises in legal books and journals - will continue to maintain a physical presence, placing concessions in John Smiths stores, and seeking a new London location. It will also continue trading through its website and direct order businesses. 

Peter Lake, business development manager at John Smiths, said that the development of digital in the legal market and the creation of a new John Smiths distribution centre in Southampton meant the Fleet Street shop was no longer viable.

"As well as being a shop, the premises in Fleet Street was also where we did distribution for our orders. John Smiths has developed a new dedicated distribution centre in Southampton, and with that in place, it doesn't make sense for us to use a piece of prime London real estate for processing orders", Lake said. He added: "Digital in the legal market is also very far advanced. In the past 18 months we have put a lot of energy into making deals with digital suppliers. The vast majority of our business is through accounts with orders placed online, with only 15% coming over the counter."

However, he said as well as placing Hammicks concessions in John Smiths stores, the fact that Hammicks has long serviced the Bar, with its Fleet Street store next to the Royal Courts of Justice, meant that the business would seek another law-focused London location.

Lake said that while consultations on around 14 jobs at the store were ongoing, he expected at least 80% of full-time staff to take on other roles at Hammicks or within the group.

Colette Jagg, officer supervisor at Hammicks, told The Bookseller on Friday: "It has been a fairly quiet last day. We have lots of regular account customers who were made aware in advance, with people coming in over the past week. Most of our stock is now gone."

The premises is due to become an Itsu fast-food outlet.

Hammicks Legal Information Services first began in 1968, when career army officer Charles Hammick set up a general bookshop in Farnham, Surrey. A store in Chancery Lane followed, with the current Fleet Street shop opened in 1986. Hammicks was acquired by John Smith and Son in 2003.