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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Government cuts lead to bookstore closure

A victim of public sector cuts

Long-established Bennetts Government Bookstore is closing in Wellington

Part of the Whitcoulls bookstore chain, Bennetts was saved while Whitcoulls was in administration last year, by a buyout led by managing director Geoff Spong.

At the time, it was so run down that it "had almost become a dollar-discount remainder" store, he said.  Money was spent to upgrade the site and boost sales, focusing on the business of serving universities and technical colleges. But it was all in vain.

"We've worked hard over the past 18 months to refresh the store, change the stock offering, but at some point there's only so much money in the till," he said.

As recently as 1999, the store had a job to keep up with demand for copies of parliamentary papers. Since then, the internet has destroyed that market. Most official documents are freely available to anyone with a computer.

The store will hold a closing down sale on November 12, and shut doors at the end of the month.  Passersby will miss reading the daily quote that is displayed on a board outside the store -- often pungent, sometimes funny, and always thought-provoking. If only because of that, Wellington will be a little poorer.

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