Waterstone's is thought to be organising the management of its stores into groups of bookshops with similar profiles, following a structure akin to that of Daunt Books.
M.d. James Daunt is thought to be splitting Waterstone's bookshops, which number about 300, into 40 smaller groups, categorising them according to size and the socio-economic status of their customers. Waterstone's is currently organised into large regional blocks, and it is not clear if the physical location of shops will play any part in the new structure.
Each of the new small groupings will have its own commercial manager, who will be responsible for up to 10 shops. The managers will tailor shops with local campaigns and be responsible for all mass merchandised areas, including title selection in the front of stores, feature space on tables and stock replenishment. The commercial managers will be managed by three divisional commercial managers.
In a letter about the new central buying process sent to publishers this week, Sarah Clarke, Waterstone's range manager, and Simon Burke, campaign manager, said: “We are currently developing a new core range tool that will allow us to build unique ranges for each store type. All titles will be reviewed considering criteria such as market (upmarket, general, mass), locality (metropolitan, rural, seaside, tourist, etc.), and customer type (professional, student, etc.).
“Local interest titles can be added to core at store by store level or geographical area. Titles in this group will include books on the local area, local authors, and titles set locally.”
The new central buying process is expected to begin during October and be completed by end of year. The company is recruiting for its campaign and range teams.