Transition to Private Management of the UCR Campus Store Planned

Officials say changing market conditions required measure

sweaters and hats at UCR campus store

In addition to books, customers can purchase UC Riverside-branded clothing at the Campus Store. Photo by Ross French

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — UC Riverside has issued a request for proposals [RFP] to transition the operations and management of the UCR Campus Store from university to private management by July 1, 2014.

Officials say the move is spurred by changing market conditions for textbooks and books in general, as well as growing internet sales of branded merchandise and computers. These developments have in the past decade negatively affected the bottom line at the facility.

“The availability of electronic publications of all kinds — textbooks, monographs, articles, and consumer books — has created a tidal wave of change at bookstores on campuses across the nation,” said Danny Kim, associate vice chancellor for student affairs administration. “In addition, students and others now routinely shop online for many other consumer products they used to purchase on campus.”

As a result, many collegiate bookstores have suffered declining sales, and many institutions have moved to private management.

The university has crafted the RFP to help preserve the jobs of the 15 current career bookstore employees, said Kim. The RFP requires the successful bidder to retain at least five of the store’s current employees, and the University has pledged to offer the remaining career employees positions elsewhere on campus.

“All current career employees will remain as UC employees,”  Kim said.

The UCR Campus Store was established in 1954. It is a nonprofit, auxiliary service owned by the Regents of University of California. The store is a self-supporting auxiliary and receives no state funding of any kind.

Kim said that textbook sales at the store have declined 52 percent since 2005. Sales volume at the store in fiscal 2012-2013 was approximately $6.3M; however, after expenses and obligations, the campus has had to carry a cumulative operating deficit totaling $1.1 million.

A 2012 article in University Business magazine summarized the situation with the words:

“College bookstores have fared unevenly over the last several years. Large campus stores have generally managed better than smaller ones, and those that generate a larger portion of their revenue from non-textbook items also have tended to hold up better than those that rely mostly on textbook sales.”

Meanwhile, the 2013 overview of the market by the National Association of College Stores found that overall sales in college stores have basically stagnated nationally since 2006, even while student enrollment figures have risen.

The campus has long planned a remodel of the physical layout of the store, which is located adjacent to the HUB complex. As part of the change, the successful bidder will be required to remodel the facility, and to install temporary modular facilities nearby to serve the campus during the remodel.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-4756

Additional Contacts

Kris Lovekin
Tel: (951) 827-2495

Archived under: Inside UCR, , , ,

Top of Page