Bookseller Briefing 05/17 – week ending 3 February

The Bookseller orange

Amazon to fund legal challenge to Trump travel ban

Ruby wax features in first Rough Guide podcast

Waterstones back in the black after five years

Lion Hudson makes 35 redundant

Oxford-based Christian publisher Lion Hudson has made almost two thirds of its staff redundant and submitted a notice of intent to appoint administrators.

Managing director Suzanne Wilson-Higgins, who took over from former m.d. Nick Jones last February, told The Bookseller the company was undergoing a restructure but that it was continuing to trade.

The notice of intent shows the company intends to go into administration if a solution to its financial problems can’t be found. As a result, 35 people have been made redundant from the publisher, leaving just 18 staff remaining.

The company’s accounts for the year ended March 2016 said undercapitalisation was a risk to the business within the “volatile current markets”. The “tough market conditions” had led to a 4% decrease is turnover the accounts said, leading to a loss of income of almost £30,000 on top of a £184,000 loss the year before. The document said the outlook for 2016/17 year remained “challenging” for the company with key international markets continuing to place “modest” orders. However, at the time the accounts said the company would be embarking on a “profit improvement programme”, through tightly controlled operational costs and stock holdings to align with sales, which it hoped would help it to weather uncertainty in the economy.

Wilson Higgins added that contrary to information shared by a US-based publisher to other publishers, it was not going into receivership: “We are trading normally, we have restructured and we are taking financial advice with a potential outcome being administration,” she said. “If that happens we will communicate to our creditors, customers, partners and creative community in the appropriate manner.”

She added in a statement: “We had a positive team meeting this morning and prayed together at lunchtime for leavers, each other and the future of Lion. To reiterate, we believe there is a way forward for the business and our financial advisors are being very supportive throughout this process. We would very much value your continued prayer support at this time as we adjust to new ways of working.”

Lion Hudson’s books continue to be available.