Final chapter looms for book stores
ONE or both of Townsville’s Angus & Robertson bookstores may close within days following a decision by administrators on Tuesday to reduce outlets across Australia and restructure the book-selling business.
The two stores are at Castletown and Stockland Aitkenvale and employ about eight people who yesterday were waiting to learn of their fate.
The two outlets are among 141 nationwide operated under the Angus & Robertson and Borders badges directly by brands owner REDGroup Retail, which was placed in administration on February 17.
A further 52 Angus & Robertson stores operate in Australia as independent franchisee-owned businesses and are not under administration.
REDGroup also has some 90 book outlets in New Zealand as well as interests in Singapore.
Administrator Steve Sherman, of Ferrier Hodgson, told creditors on Tuesday closure decisions would be made within 72 hours and bestperforming stores would remain open.
Mr Sherman told creditors the company owed $ 169.8 million, including $ 7.8 million in entitlements to its 2500 staff, a $ 118 million secured debt to an arm of private equity group Pacific Equity Partners whose validity was being investigated, and $ 44 million to unsecured creditors such as publishers.
Mr Sherman, who told creditors the debt figure was likely to grow, has formed a committee of creditors including shopping centre owner Westfield, publishers and a staff and National Union of Workers representative.
A further creditors’ meeting is set down for March 24.