University Book Shop manager Phillippa Duffy in its Great
King St shop. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
After cutting staff numbers, the University Book Shop
(UBS) is now considering reducing the size of its Great King St
Staff at the book shop were told in June to reapply for their
jobs, as bookstore manager Phillippa Duffy looked at ways to
reduce costs in the face of falling revenue.
Miss Duffy said yesterday the restructuring resulted in the
number of full-time equivalent positions being reduced from
19 to 13.
The Otago University Students' Association-owned shop could
be in for more change, with options being considered to
reduce the shop's size and split up its Great King St site.
The shop, especially now a second branch had been opened on
campus this year, did not need to take up as much space as it
did, Miss Duffy said.
She met architects yesterday and options being examined,
including what should be done with the space upstairs
previously used to sell text-books and whether to keep the
''non-stop sale'' upstairs or move it downstairs, freeing up
It had no plans to move the shop.
''The iconic building is very much part of the UBS identity
and we have no plans to move.''
Any adjustments would be carried out alongside seismic
strengthening to the quake-prone building.
It was ''too early'' to say when work on the building would
A plan to expand the on-campus site by 50% would go ahead
much sooner, with work to be carried out later this year and
completed in time for when students return for first semester
She said the future was bright for the book shop, with staff
cuts and other changes to the business meaning a surplus was
forecast next year - a turnaround from the past two years of
These changes were necessary to keep the business viable,
which was something staff ''in the main'' realised.
''Online sales, e-book sales, the retail recession, all of
those things had taken their toll on the business.''
She accepted the changes did not sit well with some staff.
''It's very difficult when the broader pragmatic business
decision has an individual personal effect.''
Of the staff made redundant, most chose not to reapply for
their jobs, with only a ''very small number'' of those who
did apply not being re-employed. Staff who stayed at the
store fulfilled less specialised roles.
She was also going to increase the number of events held by
the store, revamp its online presence and raise the profile
of its children's section.