255 jobs at risk at PRH Rugby site

255 jobs at risk at PRH Rugby site

Penguin Random House is proposing to close its distribution centre in Rugby, with all its 255 employees put at risk of redundancy.

The publisher has made the “difficult” but “necessary” proposal to close the site in Central Park, Rugby, in early 2019 following an “extensive strategic review” prompted by a “changing marketplace resulting in over capacity” at the company’s distribution sites, which also include The Book Service (TBS) in Frating and Grantham Book Service (GBS) in Grantham.

The employees, who were informed of the news this morning (4th December), have now entered a period of consultation which could take up to four months. If the proposal to close the distribution centre is confirmed, the redundancies will happen in phases and not before May 2017 at the earliest, a PRH spokesperson said.

The Bookseller understands that a rise in e-book sales has meant a decline in the volume of physical book sales, which, combined with the consolidation of publishers in the industry, (such as the recent acquisitions of independent presses Constable & Robinson and Quercus by Hachette), has impacted on the distribution of their titles, resulting in excess capacity at each of PRH’s three distribution sites.

Tom Weldon, c.e.o of  Penguin Random House UK, said:  “Proposing to part company with colleagues is never easy. Making this proposal has been a difficult but thoroughly considered and necessary action which we believe will enable us to align our service to market requirements and continue to deliver the excellent distribution service for which we are known.”

He added: “This proposal is in no way a reflection of the contributions of all at Rugby, who have provided an excellent service to Penguin, DK and Pearson both since the Rugby site opened, and prior to that at Magna Park.”

The proposal, if confirmed, would see the distribution of Penguin and DK titles relocate to The Book Service (TBS) in Frating in 2017/18, while all TBS third party clients would relocate to Grantham Book Service (GBS) in 2016.