Lonely Planet to close warehouse; distribution moving to UBD
Lonely Planet has announced it will close its Melbourne warehouse, based in Bentleigh, at the end of August this year, making seven permanent employees redundant. The publisher will outsource all distribution to United Book Distributors (UBD) from 3 September.
Lonely Planet says the decision to outsource distribution was brought about by the news that the company’s current cloud-based warehouse management system would no longer be supported from May 2019. ‘Options for a replacement system were limited and outsourcing distribution became the best solution to support the Australian arm of the business moving forward,’ said the publisher in a statement. Lonely Planet said it felt UBD would ‘best serve not only our current but also our future business requirements’.
Six permanent warehouse positions as well as one finance role (based in the Carlton head office) will be made redundant, and the closure will also affect casuals who were employed at the warehouse. Lonely Planet’s key account managers and agents will remain unchanged. The change in distribution will affect all of the publisher’s imprints: Lonely Planet, Lonely Planet Kids and Lonely Planet Food.
Chris Zeiher, the publisher’s Asia Pacific director of sales and marketing, said that the move to UBD ‘creates flexibility’ for the business as it plans for future growth, adding that the move ‘mirrors the same successful third-party distribution approach we have in the UK’.
‘Lonely Planet’s performance in the travel guidebook category on A C Nielsen Bookscan has experienced six consecutive periods of year-on-year growth across 2017/2018,’ said Zeiher. ‘Excitingly, the entire guidebook category is in MAT [moving annual total] growth and in searching for the most suitable distribution partner we wanted an organisation which could perform a seamless transition and not disrupt supply to the marketplace.’
In July 2016, Lonely Planet moved its warehouse to the current Bentleigh facility from a smaller facility in Footscray, at the same time as it moved its headquarters to the current Carlton-based office.
The cut-off date for returns to the Bentleigh warehouse will be 30 August.