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Major retailer sacks another 165 workers as it stops taking new orders

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By Padraig Collins For Daily Mail Australia

03:56 10 Jul 2024, updated 06:47 10 Jul 2024



A major Australian online retailer that thrived during the Covid-19 lockdowns has sacked another 165 staff and stopped taking any new orders. 

Booktopia went into voluntary administration last week, just weeks after it announced 50 jobs needed to be cut in order to save $6million. 

In June, the company halted share trading before an update was issued to shareholders and the Australian Securities Exchange. 

‘Further announcements will be made in due course,’ a Booktopia spokesman told Daily Mail Australia at the time. 

The country’s largest bookseller had been losing vast amounts of money since bricks-and-mortar stores re-opened at the end of the pandemic, including a $16.7million loss for the six months to December 31

CEO David Nenke resigned in June after less than a year in the job, with company co-founder and its former chief executive Tony Nash replacing him.

Booktopia’s chief financial officer and other senior executives also resigned in recent months, and its chief marketing officer left last year.

Keith Crawford, Matthew Caddy and Damien Pasfield from administrators McGrathNicol have now reportedly sacked all but 18 people from the business as it winds down operations. 

Major Australian online retailer Booktopia, which thrived during the Covid-19 lockdowns, has sacked another 165 staff and stopped taking any new orders. A mail room is pictured

The decision to do so came within a week of the administrators taking over, indicating they saw no chance of the company trading its way out of trouble.

An error message saying ‘Payment Gateway Under Maintenance, Try again later’ comes up when trying to make an order. 

‘Our immediate focus is to undertake an assessment of Booktopia’s assets and work alongside employees, suppliers, and customers to secure the best outcome for all parties,’ Mr Crawford said.

The administrators have received 60 expressions of interest in their quest to sell or restructure the business. 

Booktopia (pictured, the company’s logo) went into voluntary administration last week, just weeks after it announced 50 jobs needed to be cut in order to save $6million
Booktopia’s sales surged during the pandemic lockdowns, with people stuck at home and looking for something to occupy their time (stock image)

Booktopia’s sales surged during the pandemic lockdowns due to the inability of customers to visit actual stores, and people stuck at home were looking for something to occupy their time.

Its turnover in the 2020-2021 financial year was $223.9million, and then went up again to $240.8million the following year.

But its revenue fell drastically as the lockdowns ended and people cut their spending as the cost-of-living crisis intensified, raising doubts about the company’s future.

A meeting of Booktopia’s creditors is scheduled for Monday, July 15.

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