Ferrier Hodgson, voluntary administrators for REDgroup, said 16 Borders bookstores would close in Australia as a result of a restructuring, but that its New Zealand stores would remain open.

The closures in Australia will affect 510 store staff.

Administrator Steve Sherman said the Australian store closures were the next stage in the restructuring of the business and the move would allow the business to focus on the more profitable stores.

Ferrier Hodgson said yesterday that REDgroup had sold 10 Whitcoulls stores at airports throughout New Zealand to Australia-based travel specialist LS Travel Retail Pacific for an undisclosed sum.

Five of the stores are at Auckland Airport. The others are at Wellington Airport (two), Christchurch (two) and Rotorua (one). LS Travel Retail Pacific - formerly known as Lagardere Services Asia Pacific - is a travel retail organisation, with stores at airports and major transport hubs throughout Australia, as well as duty-free operations in Noumea.

Sherman said the sale process for the New Zealand business was continuing. He expected to have a clearer view of the business's prospects after the closure of final binding bids towards the end of April.

REDGroup's unsecured New Zealand creditors were owed $21.5 million when the company went into administration on February 17.