Alan Clifford, who led the transformation of the Methven’s bookshop chain into an internet retailer, Samedaybooks.co.uk, was killed in a road accident in Surrey on Wednesday, aged 47.

Andrew Wells, finance director since 2000, has been named acting managing director. He said that Clifford was a “terrific work colleague” and “was highly admired and looked up to within the company”.

Clifford, a book retailer all his working life, joined Methven’s in 1993 and was managing director when it floated on Aim in 1997. He proposed the rebranding and relaunch in early 2000 when the chain ran into financial difficulties.

Following a “clicks and mortar” strategy, Samedaybooks kept its existing stores – initially nine, now reduced to six, all in south-east England. It also owns Waterside Books, a supplier to ferry and cruise operators.

Clifford is survived by his wife and two young daughters.

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