Business

Charlotte distributor to lay off dozens of people as part of a ‘strategic shift’

Charlotte-based book and entertainment distributor Baker & Taylor is laying off 37 at its office on Tyvola Road as part of a “strategic shift.” The move comes two years after the company was bought by Follett.
Charlotte-based book and entertainment distributor Baker & Taylor is laying off 37 at its office on Tyvola Road as part of a “strategic shift.” The move comes two years after the company was bought by Follett.

As part of a “strategic shift,” Charlotte-based book distributor Baker & Taylor is laying off 37 people at its office on Tyvola Road.

The company said in a statement that it has decided to “exit the distribution of wholesale books to retailers.” The move is intended to align Baker & Taylor with the “educational focus” of its parent, Follett Corporation, which acquired the local company in 2016.

Baker & Taylor said it instead will start focusing on working with public libraries.

The discontinuation of its retail operations and the layoff of the employees is expected to occur by Sept. 30, Baker & Taylor said in a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act sent to the N.C. Commerce Department.

The Charlotte office is at 2550 Tyvola Road, near the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market and Belk’s corporate offices. Once the layoffs occur, Baker & Taylor will employ 116 at its Charlotte office, spokesman Tom Kline said in an email.

Follett, based in Chicago, sells books and other materials to schools, colleges, bookstores, students and K-12 libraries. Baker & Taylor, previously owned by New York private equity firm Castle Harlan, distributes books, video and music products.

Follett said its 2016 purchase of Baker & Taylor was the biggest deal in its history, although it did not disclose terms of the deal.

Ending wholesale book distribution will allow Baker & Taylor to align its resources, technology and people to help public libraries support the communities they serve, Baker & Taylor President David Cully said in the statement.

As the retail and sports business reporter for the Observer, Katie Peralta covers everything from grocery-store competition in Charlotte to tax breaks for pro sports teams. She is a Chicago native and graduate of the University of Notre Dame.
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