Retail and Consumer

A book seller, a deal, and £237 million-plus

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 17 September 2020 8:50

A book seller, a deal, and £237 million-plus

When you consider the humble beginnings of this business – two men working from an inauspicious Gloucester office – learning its turnover is now in excess of £237 million might well caputure the eye. 

Profits may be a tad down at a mere £24.4 million but when your revenue goes up by £28.9 million to £237,647 million you have to think this particular Gloucestershire business has to be getting something very right. 

In fact, the firm - which started in modest offices in Hempsted in 2004 by Andrew Crawford and Stuart Felton with the motto it would make ‘all books available to all’, is able to declare its current numbers are due to continuing global expansion'. 

We are talking about the Book Depository.

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“Gross margin decreased in 2019 to 10.3 per cent (2018: 12.1 per cent) primarilydriven by the impact of foreign exchangefluctuations,” said the firm’s most recent publication – its annual report. 

Administrative expenses were £28.6 million (2018: £25.6 million). The company made an operating loss for the year of £4.2 million (2018: operating loss of £0.3 million). 

The company said its key performance indicator” was its “gross margin". 

Those who have followed the story of the Book Depository will know, of course, it has a rather mighty secret weapon on its side. 

In June 2011, shortly after telling the world it was its ‘fastest growing book seller- it was bought by a certain US-basedonline market place giant called Amazon. 

The previous year the business, which remains a UK firm, had made a profit of £2.3 million on sales of £69 million in the year to June 2010. 

It was a deal which led to a move into a 38,868ft2 warehouse at St Modwen's Gateway 12 Business Park, Quedgeley – built for the new business in 12 weeks by Mannings - while the Book Depository’s registered address when to the capital. 

Whatever your view, it is a pretty remarkable rise that shows little sign of stopping. Who said books were dead?

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