TORONTO - Book retailer McNally Robinson announced Tuesday that it's closing two of its Canadian stores, one in Winnipeg and one in Toronto, which "proved substantially unprofitable."
The company blames the "recession, stagnant book prices, steep discounting, and increasing competition from Internet sales and electronic text formats" as factors that led to the closures, which will result in the loss of about 175 jobs.
"It is heartbreaking to see so many hard-working booksellers and restaurant staff lose their jobs. We are very hopeful, however, that we can save many more jobs and renew the company," said Paul McNally in a statement.
"This will work. We will still be the largest single independent bookseller in Canada and will try to be the best."
He was refusing interview requests on Tuesday.
A note on the McNally Robinson website added that the company still considers its future to be bright and its "glass is more than half full."
Its flagship store in Winnipeg remains open, as does its shop in Saskatoon.
McNally Robinson will also continue to operate its wholesale division, Skylight books, and its website. Customers who bought gift cards at one of the two closed stores will be able to use them online.
The proposed restructuring would save about 250 jobs in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, said the company, which was founded in Winnipeg in 1981.
The Toronto store had been opened just this spring and represented the company's first foray into Ontario.