Irish trade assesses impact from Hughes and Hughes failure

<p>Irish publishers have begun assessing the fallout from the collapse of high street bookseller Hughes &amp; Hughes last week. Many reacted with surprise to the news, even though publishers had tightened credit terms over the past year.<br /><br />Some warned that the failure of Ireland&#39;s second biggest bookshop chain left Irish publishers in the same position as their UK counterparts exposed to only one dominant player - Eason. Others expressed concern over the future of Irish bookselling at airport stores, with W H Smith slated as one of the possible bidders for H&amp;H&#39;s airport shops&mdash;the only branches that are continuing to trade. </p><p><a href="../news/113742-irish-book-chain-hughes-and-hughes-goes-into-receivership.html" target="_blank" title="http://www.thebookseller.com/news/113742-irish-book-chain-hughes-and-hug... book retailer, which employed 225 people across its 13 stores, made the announcement that it had gone into receivership in a statement on Friday evening.</a> Clodagh Feehan, managing director of Irish independent Mercier Press, said the news had come as a &quot;huge shock&quot;. Feehan said she had a very positive meeting with the managing director of Hughes and Hughes Tony McEntee the previous week.<br /><br />Feehan said that while it was clear that the collapse would have an effect on Mercier&#39;s business she &quot;didn&#39;t know yet how big an impact&quot; it would be. But Cork-based Feehan said she was worried about the future of the Irish market without Hughes &amp; Hughes suggesting that the structure was now more like the UK with one dominant player.<br /><br />Both Feehan and Ivan O&#39;Brien, managing director of O&#39;Brien Press, pointed out that there would be some exposure in terms of money owed to distributors and publishers but that on the whole, credit terms had been tightened with Hughes &amp; Hughes over the last year. Other industry sources confirmed that while some publishers might be hurt more than others, no publisher should be in danger of collapse due to the receivership.<br /><br />O&#39;Brien admitted though that he was saddened by the news and was worried about the future of Irish publishing, especially when it came to the Irish airports, which have traditionally featured a strong Irish presence through Hughes and Hughes. O&#39;Brien said that this could be jeopardised by a new owner.</p><p>President of Publishing Ireland Alan Hayes said the organisation &quot;regretted the loss of a chain&quot;. Michael McLoughlin, managing director of Penguin Ireland, the country&#39;s biggest trade publisher, like many expressed concern for the staff, most of whom were are likely to lose their their jobs. McLoughlin said the shops would be difficult to replace.<br /><br />Hughes and Hughes cited collapsing consumer demand, the sterling-euro exchange rate, the &lsquo;revolutionary wave&rsquo; of internet competition, an inability to re-negotiate its rents and the decline in passenger numbers through Dublin and Cork airports where it operated outlets.</p><p>In its statement, Hughes and Hughes said it had invited Ulster Bank Ireland Ltd to appoint David Carson of Deloitte as receiver.</p>