Saturday, March 03, 2007

Jobless in Newcastle-Under-Lyme

We used to have 3 wholesale suppliers, A, B and C. Last year high street giant Woolworths bought B. A few months ago it also bought C. Now it is closing B. 640 people are losing their jobs although some will be given the opportunity to relocate to Norfolk from the North midlands. Lucky them.

Now, Woolies are upping their booksales. They will be putting categories and more range into their high street shops. For small town independent bookshops this could prove tricky.

The problem is that C is one of the biggest suppliers to the independent trade and indeed prides itself on this but it will also be the supplier of books to its new owner Woolworths who will now know exactly what the small independent across the road is ordering in large quantities and exactly what its bestsellers are (which woolies can then order in and undercut - of course they'll deny this but would you believe them?).

There is still A but they are not exactly the easiest company to deal with and negotiating discounts is going to be a real bastard.

Being a sparrow's fart from Big Ben and our nearest woolies a 20 minute walk away means we won't really have these problems although it is still a major pain in the arse losing a supplier for all sorts of cash flow and availability issues. And of course Margaret and her friends at B now have 3 months to find a new job in an area where they're not exactly common place. Although I'm sure some city fucker has made enough to buy a new ferrari which makes it all ok.

On another note, a law has been passed that makes it compulsory for everyone to listen to David Byrne's new playlist.


  1. It's not final yet because the latest takeover has been referred to the OFT under the Enterprise Act and could well get referred to the Competition Commission.

  2. By way of a PS to my above comment, although submissions to the OFT re the EUK-THE takeover of Bertram had to be made to the OFT by Friday 23rd Feb, should the matter be referred to the Competition Commission then the opportunity will be available for all "interested parties" to make submissions (either anonymously or by name) for consideration.

  3. I guess closing the entire Newcastle operation and pitching everyone out of work kind of makes it a fait accompli.

    Not sure how long the OFT referral processes takes, but judging from the upset people we've been talking to in the last few weeks, they will be jobless by June. The joys of modern capital flows + minimum job protection, gotta love 'em...

  4. Woolies have been required to abide by certain undertakings whilst the EUK/Bertram takeover is being considered by the OFT.

    These are appropriate pdf pages.

  5. cheers Clive - we just had amazon on the phone asking us if we wanted to become third party sellers...