Another closure for Basheer Graphic Books

A seven-outlet regional bookstore chain started by a Singaporean, Basheer Graphic Books, is about to close its Hong Kong branch.

Over the past five years the chain has had to shut four of its stores. This latest closure, on December 19, leaves the original outlet in Singapore’s Bras Basah Complex and another in Kuala Lumpur.

Co-owner Abdul Nasser Basheer Ahmad says he is sad to see the Hong Kong store go. “The outlet got our brand known in the design community in mainland China and into those places-to-go lists.”

A 60 per cent drop in sales aligned with a high rental forced the closure of the 14-year-old store, which mainly stocks graphic design, architecture and photography books. It was the second branch after the one at the Bras Basah Complex, which opened a year earlier and is also struggling with lower revenues. In 2006, it made sales of $120,000 a month but now its revenue is barely half that, says Nasser.

He says his bookstores are taking longer to sell their inventory. “What once took two months to sell now takes seven months. We often have to draw on our reserves to pay suppliers because the books haven’t been sold.”
Other stores have been closed in Bangkok, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.

“I predicted that readership would drop one day, but not this fast,” says Nasser.

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