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Wednesday, 23 December 2009

A Message from Ken Munro

A message from Ken Munro, the new CEO of STL Distribution

The purchase of STL Distribution by John Ritchie Ltd brings to an end a very difficult period of uncertainty and disruption for all connected with STL Distribution. Today marks a fresh start and the beginning of an exciting future. As we embark on this new journey together, I want you to know that STL Distribution is back in business and working hard to return to the standard of service both suppliers and retailers have come to expect over the years.

We are committed to serving you and our mission is to equip your ministry with Christian resources effectively and efficiently. Over the coming weeks we are focussing on all aspects of the business to ensure that our service to you improves. Our immediate priorities will be

  • Availability - We’re re-stocking to improve our availability and fill rate
  • Suppliers - I’ve met with numerous key suppliers in recent days . A number have already committed to working with the new STL Distribution business and positive discussions with many others give me confidence that early in the new year we will be able to announce substantial continuity of existing agreements and a few exciting new additions.
  • IT systems - We will be replacing SAP with the previously operational IT platform (Informix). The transition project is already well underway and we expect to have the updated Informix platform operational within the first quarter of 2010. This is not a high risk IT project, with significant in-house knowledge and experience being brought to bear and previously robust process and technology being re-activated. Interim operational processes and IT are in place to ensure that service is minimally impacted through the transition. We will communicate the detailed IT plan in January and provide regular updates going forward.

I very much look forward to entering the next exciting chapter of STL Distribution’s story with you. If you have any queries do please contact our Customer Service Department or your Area Sales Manager who will be very happy to help you.

Finally, thank you for your support and prayers over the past few weeks and I look forward to serving you in 2010.

Ken Munro
CEO, STL Distribution

Monday, 21 December 2009

IBS-STL UK Trade Announcement

Press Release
Carlisle December 21st 2009

The Board of Trustees and Senior Management of leading Carlisle-based Christian Charity, IBS-STL UK, formerly known as STL are pleased to announce the sale of two of its three trading divisions: Authentic Media and STL Distribution, as well as the sale of a significant number of its retail stores that comprise the third trading division: Wesley Owen. A large number of jobs have been secured as a result of the sale and the Charity’s mission of ‘Advancing the Christian Faith’ will continue.

The management team has worked closely with the Baker Tilly Corporate Finance LLP over the last month to secure the sale of all or part of the Charity’s business units. Completion of the sale agreement has now been finalised with the new owners taking control immediately. This is regarded as extremely good news and ends a period of uncertainty and anxiety for many of our employees.

The sale details are as follows;

- Authentic Music based in Milton Keynes has been bought by Kingsway Communications operating from Eastbourne.

- Authentic Book Publishing and 8 Wesley Owen Stores (Bath Birmingham, Bristol, Bromley, Coleraine, Derby, Glasgow and York) have been sold to Koorong, which is owned by the Bootes family. Based in Sydney, Koorong has 18 stores operating successfully throughout Australia. It has purchased all of the Authentic and Paternoster intellectual property and author contracts, the freehold properties in Glasgow and York, the Wesley Owen trading name, and the domain name, They plan to continue to operate from the Milton Keynes area.

- STL Distribution has been purchased by John Ritchie Ltd a rapidly expanding book publisher and distributor based in Kilmarnock, Scotland. John Ritchie Ltd has purchased all of the Carlisle properties and intends to retain Carlisle as a major base of operation. The business will continue to trade as STL Distribution. John Ritchie Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Lord’s Work Trust which has substantial resources and supports Christian outreach and projects around the world. All profits from the business are returned to the Trust.

- A further 6 Wesley Owen stores (Bolton, Cambridge, Coventry, Guildford, Kingston and Stockport) have been acquired by CLC International (UK) whose head office is in Alresford, Hampshire, and whose stores operate as CLC Bookshops.

- There are ongoing discussions with a number of local groups interested in retaining their local Christian Bookshop. This may take some time to progress. In the meantime the administrators are continuing to trade from each of the remaining 26 stores. The administrators are keen to secure future trading from as many of these premises as possible and would welcome any expressions of interest.

In each case the new owners will purchase the assets of the parts of the business; no one is taking over responsibility for the IBS-STL UK charity which regrettably will be put into Administration for an orderly wind down.

Commenting on the sales, Keith Danby Chief Executive said, “I am delighted with the developments. I could not have imagined 5 weeks ago such a positive outcome. All along we have had three goals in mind; the continuity of the distribution of Christian resources, safeguarding as many jobs as possible, and finding purchasers who would invest in the businesses and take them to a new level. We believe all of the purchasers fit these aspirations and we wish them every success going forward.”

Danby went on to pay tribute to all the staff, saying, “this has been a very difficult time for all of our staff around the country. Some have worked for the Charity for almost 20 years. They are dedicated, hardworking and passionate about the mission of the Charity. It has been a very difficult year for everyone and the uncertainty of the last month has created extraordinary anxiety for people with families, financial commitments and obligations yet they have continued to fight for the survival of the company and done their very best to keep going.”

Michael Fitch, Chairman of the Board of Trustees also stated his delight, “the work of Authentic, STL Distribution and Wesley Owen is very important in advancing the Christian faith in the UK and we are delighted that this work will continue under the ownership of these high calibre operators. I want to also thank all of the employees for their hard work under difficult circumstances”.

Ken Munro, CEO of John Ritchie Ltd, emphasised the importance of continuity in the existing business and his confidence with regard to the future prospects of the newly extended group. “Our immediate goal is to quickly return the business to the levels of service and stability that STL Distribution customers have enjoyed over many years. We will achieve this building on the existing team and infra-structure as the foundation of our future success”. He added “I am confident that this significant acquisition for John Ritchie Ltd will ultimately support and strengthen the CBC trade in the UK, and trust that the future prosperity of the business will make a significant contribution to the on-going mission and objectives of our parent Trust”.

Russell Cash, Partner at Baker Tilly Restructuring & Recovery in Manchester, said, “We are delighted that such a successful outcome has been achieved. We have worked closely with a number of people within the business over several weeks and have been impressed with the commitment and attitude displayed by everybody we have encountered. I am particularly pleased that so many jobs have been preserved and I wish everybody connected all the very best for the future”

“The sales which have been secured are to parties who are well placed, and extremely keen, to continue to operate the business within the traditional core values adopted by IBS-STL over many years.

“Whilst 14 of the retail outlets are now being operated by CLC and Koorong, we are keen to explore interest in the remaining 26 stores with a view to securing a future in the medium to long term. Each of the stores are currently continuing to trade under our control”

Phil Burnham, CLC's National Director, said, "CLC's acquisition of these bookshops, whilst presenting us with a number of challenges in the short term, also gives us the opportunity to further fulfil our purpose statement. We are committed to keeping these six Christian witness and resource centres open on the high street. In the light of so many bookshop closures throughout this year CLC considered it necessary to act. While on the one hand I wish that we at CLC could have done more, to have done nothing would have filled us with remorse. We continue to pray for our colleagues in the trade and at IBS-STL, each affected to a greater or lesser degree by the recent unfortunate events".


Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Kingsway, Survivor, Nova & Sparrow titles now in stock‏

We have just had a delivery of books and music from Kingsway; titles include the latest Soul Survivor live album: Not Ashamed, Christmas Crackers, Delirious? History Makers Greatest Hits, J I Packer; Rediscovering Holiness and many more.

Don’t forget we have reduced our FREE carriage limit to £50 (nett invoice value) until 22nd December. Also the last day for pre-Christmas delivery is Tuesday 22nd December. 2:30pm telephone and 4:30pm electronic. If you have any queries about this then please do not hesitate to contact our customer services department on 0845 705 6568.

STL Distribution Blog Team

Wednesday, 9 December 2009



Dear friends

Christmas is a busy time for everyone so to help make your job easier we have put together a list of American titles currently in stock at STL Distribution UK. Click HERE for a downloadable XLS file. This splits products into different categories, so there is a separate tab for Bibles, Children’s books etc. Please note stock on some of the lines is limited.

Don’t forget we have reduced our FREE carriage limit to £50 (nett invoice value) until 22nd December. Also the last day for pre-Christmas delivery is Tuesday 22nd December. 2:30pm telephone and 4:30pm electronic. If you have any queries about this then please contact our customer services department on 0845 705 6568.

Kind regards
STL Distribution Blog Team

Friday, 4 December 2009

Veggie Tales - Saint Nicholas back in stock!

Veggie Tales - Saint Nicholas Back in Stock!

Due to unprecedented demand stocks of Saint Nicholas ran out. However, we are now pleased to confirm we have received further stock and that this fantastic seasonal title is once again available from STL Distribution.

This exciting joint venture between Operation Christmas Child and Veggie tales includes.

* Featuring the new song and Operation Christmas Child video Give This Christmas Away with Matthew West and Amy Grant.
*The new silly song Donuts for Benny

Bonus features: Loads of family fun!

* Behind the Scenes
* Art Gallery
* Audio Commentary
* Sing along with Larry
* Discussion Guide
* Family Activity
* 5.1 Surround Sound
* Running time approximately 45 minutes.

Kind Regards
STL Distribution Blog Team

Trade Update from IBS-STL U.K.

Trade Update from IBS-STL U.K. 4th December 2009

I wanted to take this opportunity to give you an update regarding our situation, as I know that many of you are eager to know how things have developed since our press release went out on 16th November.

We have received a wide ranging response from many within the trade, and we are grateful for the many messages of support, encouragement and prayers that have been received over these difficult times.

I can confirm that the sales process is now underway, with the help of Baker Tilly. We have received a number of offers covering all aspects of the business and have now selected our preferred bidders who are currently undertaking financial and operational due diligence. This is likely to take us into the week commencing 14th December by which time we should be able to conclude the sales process.

Whilst we are unable to speculate on final offers until the due diligence process is concluded, we are encouraged by the level and extent of the interest. We remain confident that one or more transactions will be concluded for various aspects of the business, thus ensuring a seamless continuation of supply to our many valued customers.

We recognise the support you have extended over recent weeks and want to re-assure you that not only are we continuing to trade with as little disruption as possible in the circumstances, but we are hopeful that the majority of the business will remain for the longer term.

I want to thank you for your patience and concern, and we will communicate again when the sale process comes to a conclusion.

Keith Danby

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Reduced FREE Carriage Offer