Bennetts Bookstores Ltd, which operates a chain of retail stores around the country, has been placed into voluntary administration after 130 years in business.

The company operates Bennetts book shops on university campus throughout the country including in Auckland, Canterbury, Palmerston North, Waikato and Wellington, which specialise in tertiary textbooks.

Bryan Williams of BWA Insolvency was appointed administrator at the end of last month and is looking for a buyer to take over the business.

Williams said the company was insolvent but the business was viable and the retail stores would continue to trade.

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"The plan is definitely to have Bennetts Bookstores thrive and to work through the issues that have caused its insolvency and remedy those," he told the Herald.

"It will be very unlikely that the business can go forward in the current hands."

Williams was not able to disclose the reasons which caused the company's insolvency under current ownership.

He was also not able to comment on how much the company owed creditors.

"It's too early for me to disclose that information."

Administrators would apply to the High Court for an extension to the convening period, Williams said.

The first Bennetts book store opened in 1889 in Palmerston North. The business employs 25 staff who work at various university campuses.