Bookshop staff face losing jobs
STAFF at a Christian bookshop are facing the threat of redundancy in the run-up to Christmas.
The former Church of Scotland bookshop in Edinburgh's George Street could close with the loss of ten jobs after the company which took it over was put up for sale.
Christian bookshop chain Wesley Owen, which has six shops in Scotland, is part of IBS-STL UK, which also has distribution and publishing arms and employs 490 people across the UK.
But after a succession of financial problems, the company has called in a finance firm to try to sell all or parts of the business.
Unless a buyer or buyers are found within the next few weeks, the company is expected to announce closures.
David Young, general manager of IBS-STL, said: "Over the last 12 months we have been going through financial difficulties, particularly the failed implementation of a new computer system last year.
"That combined with the economic downturn has given us serious cashflow problems and ultimately we have come to the decision to sell all or parts of the business."
He said he understood there had been "significant interest" from possible buyers but did not want to raise hopes.
However, the fact Edinburgh is one of the company's biggest stores in terms of turnover and has a central location could make it a more attractive proposition than some other parts of the business.
Mr Young added: "We are really keen to sell as much as we can to secure the jobs."
He said a potential buyer would not have to bid for the whole chain, but might be interested in individual shops or a cluster of shops. "We are taking the next few weeks to gauge the level of interest, then we hope to make some kind of announcement."
The Church of Scotland sold its bookshops to STL, formerly known as Send The Light, in 1993 after protracted negotiations.
The Rev Andrew Anderson, minister of Greenside Church in Royal Terrace, who was convener of the Kirk working party which negotiated the sale, said today he was sorry to hear of the possible closure.
He said: "We felt we did a good job and we felt Welsey Owen did a good job subsequently.
I'm very sad to hear this news and I very much hope they can find a buyer."
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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