Independent Retail Group folds

The Independent Retail Group (IRG) has folded, closing five of its bookshops and selling the remaining 11.

The company, a subsidiary of Three C Publishing, bought the 16 stores in 2005, employing managers to make independent decisions about stock. However, sales at the shops, which sold a mixture of new and remainder books, began worsening in the last 18 months in line with the credit crunch.

Sales figures plummeted further across the group between October-December 2010 and were not helped by the bad weather conditions, according to IRG m.d Nick Croydon. He said: “In 2007 the group would have produced £5m in sales, but in 2010 it was just over £4m. That was unsustainable. Individuals went from buying in stores to buying online, from supermarkets and charity shops because they made the decision they had to save money by shopping in cheaper places.”

Four of the shops have been bought by the managers who ran them and the others by third parties. The five that have closed are in Dunstable, Grantham, Nottingham, West Kirby and West Bridgford.