22 Feb 2011

Whitcoulls administrators sit down with union

7:53 pm on 22 February 2011

The National Distribution Union met with the administrators of the troubled bookstore chains Whitcoulls, Borders and Bennetts on Monday morning.

The book chains' Australian parent company, REDgroup Retail, went into voluntary administration last week.

The union says a team of administrators from Ferrier Hodgson, who arrived in the country at the weekend, has been doing forensic work on the accounts at Whitcoulls.

The union's general secretary, Robert Reid, says the union expects to be briefed on what the administrators have found. He says he wants to hear what their findings might mean for jobs, redundancies and closures.

Mr Reid says the union represents five Whitcoulls bookshop workers and up to 30 people in the company's Auckland distribution centre.

New Zealand staff have been sent letters telling them their wages will be paid and, for now, business is operating as usual.

Bookstore franchisee had concerns

A former Australian REDgroup franchisee says he severed ties with the company because of concerns about its business practices.

Ross Dillon and his wife owned an Angus and Robertson franchise in South Australia for 25 years, until becoming an independent business last year.

Mr Dillon says REDgroup's stores had problems getting stock and the company raised prices.

He says his business is thriving as an independent operation and REDgroup's troubles are not indicative of a wider problem in the book industry.

Booksellers New Zealand agrees, saying the industry is showing resilience in a tough time.