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Norfolk’s Bertram Books bucks festive trend

19:38 15 January 2013

Graeme Underhill in Bertram

Graeme Underhill in Bertram's enormous warehouse. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2012

Thorpe St Andrew-based Bertram Books has been handed a Christmas boost after outperforming the UK market by 5.7pc.

Despite the UK total consumer book market slumping by 2.3pc during November and December, the EDP Top 100 firm grew by 3.4pc.

Bertram Group also saw its like-for-like sales grow by 1.5pc in the 19 weeks to January 12 thanks to a surge in sales across its print and e-book titles.

The e-book arm of the firm saw 50pc year-on-year growth over the same period, while sales to Europe grew by 14pc year-on-year.

Looking across the consumer markets, it said that sales had been strong with internet retailers, high street booksellers and from non-traditional customers.

Graeme Underhill, Bertram Group managing director, said: “These are good results in what is a challenging book market.

“Across the organisation everyone has played their part to deliver a good year-on-year performance.”

Meanwhile, Bertram Group’s parent company Smiths News reported a 2pc rise in revenues in the 19 weeks to January 12 despite a 4.7pc slide in like-for-like sales in its core business.

The Swindon-based firm said overall trade was boosted by the acquisition of education and care resources supplier The Consortium in April 2012, as well as a strong performance from its Bertrams Books business, which saw comparable sales rise 1.5pc.

Back in October, Bertram Books outperformed market trends by recording a 84pc increase in underlying operating profit to £6.8m.

It reported at the time that it had seen growth in a number of areas, but the acquisition of academic book and ebook library supply company Dawson Books in August 2011 had been central to its performance.

Bertrams said that the strength of the international book market, particularly Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific would allow the business to capitalise on the growth in demand for English language books abroad.

And that its integrated distribution hub in Norwich had enabled it to achieve £2.5m of efficiency savings, and was targeting a further £1.3m of savings in 2013 and 2014.

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