Carlisle's Bookends in ITV plea

A Carlisle bookshop-owner has urged retailers in the city to help create a "leisure time" shopping experience to draw people to the area.

Stephen Matthews has spoken on ITV about the need for retailers to create interesting and dynamic experiences for customers who visit shops, as well as providing them with goods to buy.

Matthews, who owns the Bookends bookshop in Carlisle, said: "[Carlisle] needs to focus on its leisure time shopping. People like shopping and we have got to make it an enjoyable experience. Shops where you can get things more cheaply and readily online will decline, but new shops which provide the experience will come in their place."

He added: "People aren't coming out simply to buy, they want [shop staff] to be helpful and supportive, they want to be comfortable. We want people to leave saying 'I enjoyed that, I want to come back'. It is about sharpening our act in all directions."

Waterstones m.d. James Daunt also believes creating an enjoyable bricks-and-mortar retail experience will help win customers over to Waterstones and fend off competition from online retailers. The chain is in the process of refurbishing 100 of its shops, with 40 completed and 60 more to come this year.

Daunt told The Bookseller: "If you look at our advertising, it was about the pleasures of a good bookshop. People come into bookshops for reasons other than to buy at the lowest possible price at commodity levels. If you spend time in the smaller shops where everybody comes in for 20 minutes it is a very self-congratulatory experience because people say: 'Ooh isn't it lovely, lovely, lovely.' I think the booksellers are genuinely beginning to feel that they are their shops instead of just another one from the factory."