Oxford: Blackwell’s sells division for £2.1m as jobs go

Oxford-based Blackwell’s has sold its academic library services contracts to book wholesaler Bertrams for £2.1 million. Reports said that up to 55 Blackwell’s staff were expected to be made redundant as a result of the move, which follows a decision by the retailer to close its library supply business.

Blackwell’s decided to close its library services division to concentrate on its retail and digital arm and “reshape the company for the 21st century”. The company began a consultation with staff this week.

Bertrams revealed the news as part of a Smiths News trading update for the six months to February 28, 2013, in which it revealed like-for-like revenue was up by 2.8% and operating profit was up 7.6% to £3.5m.

Blackwell’s David Prescott said: “The Blackwell’s Board is focused on our bookshop business and the direct opportunity to develop our digital offering to student, academic and professional customers. We are making this move to invest and tailor our services for the future as Blackwell’s remains determined to be at the forefront of these developments.”