Waterstone’s looks to rebuild profits
02.07.10 | Graeme Neill


Waterstone’s has begun discussions with a number of publishers as the business looks to rebuild its profits after what managing director Dominic Myers described as an “unacceptable Christmas”.

Myers told The Bookseller that the chain needed to see “a substantial improvement” in profits after they fell from £10m to £2.8m.

Some publishers have indicated the retailer is seeking greater discounts of as much as 3% as the chain looks for support for its store refit programme and improved local offer.

In an interview with The Bookseller, Myers stressed that the discussions with “key suppliers” were a “two-way street”. He said: “We want to work with them [publishers] in some detail to create space for dedicated activity. But we expect something in return from suppliers and talking about margins relates to that.”

The retailer announced its full year results to the City on Wednesday (30th), ahead of a reopening party for its High Street Kensington branch, one of 20 stores being refitted in the first phase of the revamp.

Since his appointment Myers has overhauled the buying systems at the chain, giving branches greater autonomy over buying, focusing on range bookselling and relaunching the brand. Myers said: “We have got a clear programme to achieve that [profit growth] which we are well on track with. Most of this is focused on getting a good proposition in place in time for Christmas and I am confident we will do that.”

Myers also highlighted the chain’s digital offer, including the launch of a Waterstone’s app for the iPad and iPhone this September, new-look e-book areas in 20 stores, and new e-reader devices, including wi-fi and LCD screens, also in September. The chain also said it was “approaching” the sale of its millionth e-book.

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