The information was given to Lusa by a source in Barata, which was to be the result, until now, of the restructuring plan that the Lisbon bookstore devised in May, to try to find a solution to the crisis that it is going through, exacerbated by restrictions and containment imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to a loss of revenue between 80% and 90%.
The plan included a request for a partial layoff and a meeting with the Lisbon City Council (CML), during which the needs and difficulties of the bookstore were communicated, after being with the municipality to brainstorm solutions or possible solutions for the situation.
The result has been a tripartite partnership, through CML’s “Lojas com História” program, which places FNAC inside Livraria Barata, presenting new products that traditionally this space did not sell, such as vinyls, from stationery, games and toys, musical instruments, merchandising, sound and telecommunications equipment, announces the FNAC.
The idea came from the Lisbon City Council who launched the challenge to FNAC, which produced benefits for both parties.
This is a strictly commercial partnership, without the French chain of stores having acquired any part of Barata, which will retain the original name, added only by the phrase “powered by FNAC”.
“The objective of this partnership is to attract new audiences, who traditionally do not frequent Barata, with the offer of new products. It can also work the other way around: those who are already going to Barata and do not have FNAC are closer [a marca ainda não estava presente naquela zona de Alvalade]. It’s a synergy, ”explained a source from the channel.
The company also stressed that at no time will there be direct competition, since the products made available by FNAC will be “complementary” to those of Barata: “FNAC will function almost as a“ pop-up ”to inside the bookstore, in a corner with games, toys, vinyl records, ”he added.
The other part of the restructuring plan was a request for “partial dismissal”, which went unanswered and ultimately “never progressed due to bureaucratic problems,” a source told Barata.
In June, the bookstore launched a fundraising campaign with a view to obtaining 190 thousand euros, aimed at replenishing stocks, guaranteeing operating costs, such as rents and salaries, until the end of 2020, for requalify the historic space to prepare it for new activities and develop an “e-commerce” platform.
The counterparts provided for the donors would be invested in cultural products, that is to say a kind of credit for bookstore purchases.
However, “the goal was not achieved, the campaign raised around 25 thousand euros, part of which was redeemed. A part of the donations can be made unconditionally, that is to say non-refundable. This means that even if the value of the campaign is not being achieved, donors want that value to reach the promoter, ”explained Barata.
The bookstore then decided to “buy back this piece to buy ‘stock’ for the bookstore at Christmas, and release it,” but only did so when it was “guaranteed that there was, in fact , an alternative future for Barata, which allows a return on concrete value, ”he added.
Barata says those who have contributed to the fundraising program will soon receive amounts commensurate with their level of support, ranging from gift cards, which can be given on books and other store-bought merchandise, to exclusive Barata merchandising (bookmarks). . , illustrated postcards, woven bags) to autographed books and works of art by authors to be announced
There are also plans to subject the ground floor of the bookstore to renovations, in order to turn this space into a venue for cultural events, which should progress early next year.
Barata is a family business, created by António Barata, in 1957, with an itinerary strongly linked to the history of Lisbon, and also a network of a dozen bookstores scattered throughout the city, in places such as the Instituto Superior Técnico and the surroundings of Campo de Ourique.
The origin of everything is the mother bookstore on Avenida de Roma, which started as a small bookstore, stationery and tobacco shop, and which in 1986 underwent an architectural transformation that made it the space it is today. hui, with a Portuguese sidewalk and modernist-inspired shelves.
In 2010, to boost its activity, Barata entered into a commercial partnership with the Leya group, which gave it priority access to the marketing of all the group’s brands, from general editions to school editions.
Today classified as a History Store, Barata was born 63 years ago, “in the mists of dictatorship”, and has become a space of literary communion, but also of resistance, research and the sharing of knowledge and development. ‘information, according to the description of the company itself. company. bookstore.
This position gave its founder the persecution of the political police, but it still closed its doors, still nurturing a space for culture and free thought.
Created in the image of “large independent bookstores, heirs to the Europe of Enlightenment, precursors of literacy and the promotion of knowledge, in a pluralist, humanist and universalist logic”, Barata has evolved in size and in offer, focusing on technical education and on children and young people.