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Booktopia searches for new CEO after Tony Nash steps aside

Booktopia CEO Tony Nash is to step aside to take up a new position within the company focused solely on growth as the company struggles in a “volatile and unpredictable” market.

Nash, the online book retailer’s co-founder, will stay on the company’s board and remain fully involved with the business. He will continue in the CEO role while the board searches for his replacement.

“Building Booktopia from a budget of just $10 a day in 2004 into Australia’s leading online book retailer has been an incredibly rewarding journey,” he said.

As an entrepreneur, he said, his natural talent is “making the invisible visible” and he wants to focus on finding ways to grow the business and hand over the duties that come with being the CEO of a larger and listed entity. 

“It’s time to hand over the leadership reins to someone who is more capable than me at that job description. I am genuinely looking forward to working with, and for, the new CEO.”

‘Volatile and unpredictable’ market

Meanwhile, in a business update, the company described the trading environment for e-commerce companies as “volatile and unpredictable” and warned it expects to post a net loss this year.

“Online book sales were a major beneficiary of lockdowns and other restrictions, but as the economy returns to normal, the growth in online book sales has moderated.”

In the nine months to March 31, sales were up by 9 per cent to $177.8 million, units shipped up 7 per cent to 6.75 million, but EBITDA was down 63 per cent to $5.5 million. 

Sales for the March quarter were down 1 per cent year on year, which Nash said was partly due to the disrupted start to the academic year. Academic book sales have traditionally been a strong contributor to third-quarter sales. 

The company said it would be reassessing its cost base during the fourth quarter to cope with lower short-term revenue growth rates.  

The company has adjusted its outlook for the full year, predicting revenue of $242 million and an EBITDA of between $3 million and $4 million. However, it expects to post a net loss and has warned the results may be impacted by a penalty from ongoing proceedings by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission. 

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