Cloudy future for book retailers

THE future of the Angus & Robertson store and staff in Bundaberg is still cloudy after administrators said no decision had yet been taken on which sites would close.

Administrators Ferrier Hodgson were called in on February 17 by REDgroup retail, which operates Angus & Robertson and Borders bookstores in Australia and New Zealand.

Ferrier Hodgson corporate communications director Michael Cave said the administrators made a presentation to creditors of the group in Melbourne on Tuesday.

However, he said no announcements on the future of the group had been made.

Mr Cave said there was nothing concrete about which stores would close or how many would do so.

“There is likely to be an announcement before the end of the week,” he said.

Staff at the Hinkler Central branch of Angus & Robertson said they had been told to make no comment, but signs up in the shop told customers they could no longer sell gift vouchers.

REDgroup runs a total of 193 stores in Australia.

Administrator Steve Sherman told the creditors' meeting REDgroup owed $118 million to its only secured creditor, private equity group Pacific Equity Partners, which was also the owner of the business.

Unsecured creditors are owed $44 million, while employees are owed $7.8 million in entitlements.

Creditors were told Borders was holding $45 million in stock and had only $1 million in the bank, while Angus & Robertson's bank balance was $2.9 million.

Mr Sherman said all the stores had been kept open since the collapse, but it was inevitable stores would have to be closed.

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