Friday 27 November 2009

Distressed retail, bad plumbing

Whenever the plug has been taken out of the bath in recent weeks, water has been coming through the kitchen ceiling and showering the vegetables. The plumbing of the bath, shower and washing machine has been a bit iffy.

Meanwhile Borders has been losing money. Borders bookshops, that is: originally owned by Borders US; bought in 2007 by Risk Capital Partners, who reduced the number of shops; bought again in July this year by Valco Capital Partners (‘the private equity division of Hilco, the distressed retail specialists’, according to The Times), who themselves appointed Clearwater Finance to find a buyer, who failed to do this, and who put on standby the administrators BDO Stoy Hayward, who then found they had a conflict of interest because they have dealings with Borders US. The pipework, again, has been iffy, and the water pouring through the kitchen ceiling has been anything but clear, and Borders has gone into admin.

Now the good news. Larry the plumber has this morning bashed a hole through the house wall and solved (fingers crossed) the bath problem. And down in Brighton, where a bookshop event for Nicky Singer’s Knight Crew had been arranged for next Thursday at, you guessed it, Borders, Nicky has managed to relocate the event to the Jubilee Library.

Booksellers will lose their jobs. The reduction in the number of big chain bookstores may mean that the surviving ones will individually become more powerful (God knows). But right now, no sermon on the state of the publishing and bookselling industry. Instead, huge thanks to the individuals who have stepped in to deal with the immediate mess: Larry; Jen at the Jubilee Library; Marcus at Borders in Brighton.

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