The Book People, one of the UK’s largest booksellers, has been forced into administration in the run up to Christmas.
PwC has been appointed to manage the insolvency process, Sky News reported.
The accountancy firm was handling an auction for the bookseller, as its private equity owner Endless attempted to secure a sale of the company.
Sources told Sky News that a number of credible parties had expressed interest in buying the firm, and no redundancies will be made while administrators continue to hunt for a buyer.
The Surrey-based company, which was founded in 1988, employs up to 400 people during the Christmas trading period, but its number of permanent employees is lower.
Toby Underwood, restructuring partner for PwC, said: “I can confirm that the business continues to trade and at this point in time no redundancies are currently envisaged whilst we rapidly explore a sale of the business.
“The intention is to fulfil and deliver all customer orders received and accepted.
“I appreciate the obvious concerns that staff in particular will have as we move towards Christmas. Whilst the administrators have funding to meet the payroll for December, the longer-term prospects for the business, staff, customers and suppliers will clearly be dependent upon whether a sale can be secured.”
The company has been impacted by the growth of online retail giants such as Amazon in recent years.
Endless parter James Woolley told the broadcaster that the “well documented challenges in the retail environment compounded by the strength of global online booksellers has severely impacted operating cash flows over recent years”.
Ted Smart and Seni Glaster founded the firm , which sells bargain books and gifts through its website, catalogue and pop-up stores at schools and businesses.