Good Bye Wesley Owen?

Posted: November 17, 2009 in Wesley Owen
Tags: , ,

Ok. In case you’re not sure, Wesley Owen is a chain of Christian bookshops that are owned by a company called IBS-STL (used to just be called STL). IBS-STL also deal with alot of Publishing and Distribution of many Christian books and CDs.

So the below announcement is quite big news really:


Leading Christian book and Bible charity IBS-STL UK today announced that it has appointed Baker Tilly Corporate Finance LLP to pursue the sale of its operations.

The move has come after a succession of financial problems, in particular the failed implementation of a new SAP computer system in October 2008, the effects of which were exacerbated by the economic downturn. These have caused significant cash flow pressures, excess stock, and supply chain and service difficulties in its distribution and retail units. They have culminated in the decision to exit the business.

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Quite sad really that “in this current economic climate”, STL decided to launch a new computer system on the lead up to last Christmas. Which, if its important enough to mention in the above statment, I would guess didn’t really help during the Christmas season. Christmas being a time that I imagine Christian bookshops being quite busy. Again I’m guessing.

Now what departments of STL being sold, obviously depends on the exact nature of the accounting issue, but it does look like its a sell out may well be possible. We can only all hope it doesn’t all go down the same route of the SPCK / SSTG saga.

Other pages of interest:

  1. Phil Groom says:

    Sadly, you’ve guessed right: that run-up-to-Christmas implementation was a disaster. I’ve said a bit more in a comment over on the mouse’s blog.

    But done is done. We need to look to the future, to securing the future for STL UK’s employees; and I think we can, if enough people are willing to stand together.

  2. Ian says:

    I think the different division will struggle differently. Authentic should find a ready buyer from the UK or the US – and I hear it has actually been hitting all its targets and is a financially viable going concern (although exisitng publishers are more likely to want the backlist and license agreements).

    STL Distribution could be rescued – perhaps with less of a contract distribution focus and more emphasis on making a good quality wholesale business. However, I would guess that around 80% of its business went through Wesley Owen, so I would think that the impact on that business would have a direct impact on the future size of the STLD division.

    There is little doubt that WO is most at risk – 40 branches, of which about 1/3 are loss making, with high rents (plus business rates if the new owner is not a charity) and probably losing the internal discounts that helped it to date. That is where the concern most is – I really feel for the people employed there.

  3. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by SacredFish: Good Bye Wesley Owen?:

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