News

Waterstone's to close 11 stores by end of the week

Eleven Waterstone's stores will close by the end of this week. The outlets are spread across the UK and Ireland and are mostly in locations where more than one Waterstone's store currently exists.

Staff at the affected Waterstone's stores have now entered into a period of consultation, but may be redeployed to other locations. Current stock at all 11 outlets will be removed and "where possible" recycled.

The HMV Group, which owns both HMV and Waterstones, made the decision to shut stores after a tough trade performance over the Christmas period.  The book retailer has earmarked 20 sites for closure. Today’s news follows the closure of nine HMV stores on Sunday.

A spokesperson said: “Further to Waterstone's recent announcement regarding a review of our store estate, we can now confirm that the following stores have been informed that they will cease trading on the 6th February 2011.

“As a result of these store closures, affected colleagues have now entered into a period of consultation and are at risk of redundancy. We hope to re-deploy many affected colleagues to stores as possible.”  She refused to disclose how many staff would be affected.

Waterstones has previously announced its outlets in Slough, Maidenhead and Edinburgh East End were three of the twenty venues to wind down over the course of the year, leaving six store closures yet to be disclosed.

Store Closures:
Dublin, Dawson Street
Dublin, Jervis Street
Colchester, Culver Square
Worcester, High Street
Guildford, North Street
Stafford, Guildhall
Hemel Hempstead, Marlowes Centre
Coventry, Cathedral Lanes
Tiverton
Luton
Chelmsford, Meadows

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the article states: "The outlets are spread across the UK "

It also states there are 2 stores in Dublin closing. Since when has Dublin been in the UK??

Don't get too outraged, Anonymous. Just last month journalists finally realised that progression of the equinoxes happens, which had been news sometime around 130BCE. Considering that, expecting them to be up to date on the Free State of 1922 and the Republic of 1948 would be pushing it a bit.

Indeed, usual UK failure to acknowledge the difference.

Given that waterstones plan for the rest of the company is to dramatically reduce range and use the resultant space to stock non-related-product (the kind of stuff you find in Hawkins Bazaar at xmas)I would venture the opinion that there may well be more closures to come .....

Very, very sad news. That just leaves Hodges and Figgis to hold the flag for quality book retailing in the city centre. My thought are with all the current employees there.

B.

I'm from Belfast originally so I had no excuse when I edited. Apologies for error - it has been corrected.

Absolutely shocked to hear about Jervis Centre: while Dawson St's position opposite Hodges Figgis always meant the Sword of Damoclese was nearby, Jervis has a great, loyal customer-base with no real competition.
Our hearts go out to the wonderful, long-serving staff in both shops, as well as to those in the other 9 branches in Britain. It's really tough on them.

Cheers or Sláinte I should say :)

The article does say the UK and Ireland !!!
Lets not go back to pre-independance

I love my job - I love what we sell - what I dont love is being made to pay for ineffectual management at top level. For years in this company the left hand has had no idea what the right hand is doing and now I am losing my job. If last year was so abysmal (and it was) Gerry had to lose his job why is it that this year it's managers at store level that get the shaft? The future of Waterstones was never in our hands, it was always at the whim of senior managers at or previously of HMV. Constant waste of POS - time wasted on destickering/restickering - deliveries of campaign stock coming in post campaign etc etc. While I agree some stores are loss making and do have to close I can't help but feel that dual catchment areas are being made scapegoats and concentrating on these areas is a mistake as Waterstones will exchange valuable experience for a short term profit.

This sad situation is the outcome of not having a fixed price, which protects a wide offer and independent stores. Once you open the door to discounts, there you have it. Sad.

Hodges Figgis is also owned by Waterstone's, so they are still keeping a base in Dublin.

I think you'll find that increasing non-book product is the sole strategy for the coming year. It's called 'project chameleon'. No it really is. There is another project too called 'pegasus' which as far as i can work out is the same thing. It would be funny, if i was watching this on the apprentice...

Well looking at the list and to come back to a previous comment this is not about stores being profitable but about rent agreements.
From the top of my hat I know of other dual stores not meeting their overhead and not making the list.
Appears to be yet another short term plaster that is hardly making any sense on a financial side for a possible future.
I feel for the people being hit by the first wave and for the future of the brand. A true shame I really used to love it.
HMV and its puppets, appears to be taking very short term decisions that would only make sense if you are trying for a quick exit.
It takes courage to make difficult and long term decisions for a safer future.
What I am seeing here is a quick spreadsheet exercise to make the brand look sexy for potential buyers... Good luck with that

Words of wisdom from Steve West of HMV - in touch, in tune, in love and in front...

http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/News/MostEmailed/1052338/HMV-group-HR-direct...

"It's a bit like pruning some branches to support future growth of the whole tree, although that will be little consolation to some colleagues, so this is not something we have undertaken lightly."

The operation was successful, but the patient died.

you'd fire them all?

Fox has been a disaster for hmv and waterstones. He has managed to turn two specialist retail chains into businesses without identity or direction. The man is clearly out of his depth along with the rest of the directors.

Yes, tragic that an industry can't be run for the benefit of itself. Do we really need to consider the rights of consumers? I mean - they are always moaning about something!

The tragedy here is the people who will inevitably loose their jobs; that's not just a platitude on my part because my daughter works for Waterstones and will probably be affected by the closures. However, how long can the book trade support the shenanigans at Waterstones which is making publishing and bookselling in the UK a laughing stock? Waterstones, run for considerable periods of time by people who know nothing about and have no interest in books, has become more interested in the staff rota at branch level and spurious and short lived promotions at head office than building a serious forward looking business. Waterstones has cost the book trade dear by forcing good independent bookshops to close and replacing passion with promotions, depth of stock with heaps of "celebrity" rubbish and has denigrated the skill of the professional bookseller to that of returns clerk and till monkey. Now the company, owned by a moribund and outdated retailer, has little chance of survival in the age of the internet and the e book. Sad but true, the sooner Wateerstones goes the better, a more attuned retailer will spring up in its place and in five years time Waterstones will be history.

DAPHNE has it a bit mixed up here . First she say's that Waterstones by opening has cost the book trade dear ![At one stage Dillons and Waterstones combined were opening 100,000 sq feet per annum all eagerly stocked by book publishers].Many publishers Headline, Bloombury to name just two emerged nurtured by the milk of Waterstones stock purchases Now she wants the shops to close and presumably the staff to walk to streets . The real danger is that as the existing model no longer works on the high street Waterstones will NOT be replaced by a chain or similar but back filled by more activity from the Grocers and the internet including a race to E books . DISCUSS

the article states: "The outlets are spread across the UK "

It also states there are 2 stores in Dublin closing. Since when has Dublin been in the UK??

Don't get too outraged, Anonymous. Just last month journalists finally realised that progression of the equinoxes happens, which had been news sometime around 130BCE. Considering that, expecting them to be up to date on the Free State of 1922 and the Republic of 1948 would be pushing it a bit.

Indeed, usual UK failure to acknowledge the difference.

I'm from Belfast originally so I had no excuse when I edited. Apologies for error - it has been corrected.

Cheers or Sláinte I should say :)

The article does say the UK and Ireland !!!
Lets not go back to pre-independance

Like people care where the heck Dublin is when you're losing your job. Get a life; it was a typo, an error, a mistake. Don't be so sensitive.

Given that waterstones plan for the rest of the company is to dramatically reduce range and use the resultant space to stock non-related-product (the kind of stuff you find in Hawkins Bazaar at xmas)I would venture the opinion that there may well be more closures to come .....

Very, very sad news. That just leaves Hodges and Figgis to hold the flag for quality book retailing in the city centre. My thought are with all the current employees there.

B.

Absolutely shocked to hear about Jervis Centre: while Dawson St's position opposite Hodges Figgis always meant the Sword of Damoclese was nearby, Jervis has a great, loyal customer-base with no real competition.
Our hearts go out to the wonderful, long-serving staff in both shops, as well as to those in the other 9 branches in Britain. It's really tough on them.

Hodges Figgis is also owned by Waterstone's, so they are still keeping a base in Dublin.

Thanks, Ivan. In Jervis we did indeed have loyal customers and little competition. We had a stream of lovely regulars coming in to offer everyone condolences. Was it enough? With a lease coming up for renewal and upward-only rents, it wasn't, it seems.

I love my job - I love what we sell - what I dont love is being made to pay for ineffectual management at top level. For years in this company the left hand has had no idea what the right hand is doing and now I am losing my job. If last year was so abysmal (and it was) Gerry had to lose his job why is it that this year it's managers at store level that get the shaft? The future of Waterstones was never in our hands, it was always at the whim of senior managers at or previously of HMV. Constant waste of POS - time wasted on destickering/restickering - deliveries of campaign stock coming in post campaign etc etc. While I agree some stores are loss making and do have to close I can't help but feel that dual catchment areas are being made scapegoats and concentrating on these areas is a mistake as Waterstones will exchange valuable experience for a short term profit.

This sad situation is the outcome of not having a fixed price, which protects a wide offer and independent stores. Once you open the door to discounts, there you have it. Sad.

Yes, tragic that an industry can't be run for the benefit of itself. Do we really need to consider the rights of consumers? I mean - they are always moaning about something!

Yes the two are mutually exclusive.

I think you'll find that increasing non-book product is the sole strategy for the coming year. It's called 'project chameleon'. No it really is. There is another project too called 'pegasus' which as far as i can work out is the same thing. It would be funny, if i was watching this on the apprentice...

you'd fire them all?

Well looking at the list and to come back to a previous comment this is not about stores being profitable but about rent agreements.
From the top of my hat I know of other dual stores not meeting their overhead and not making the list.
Appears to be yet another short term plaster that is hardly making any sense on a financial side for a possible future.
I feel for the people being hit by the first wave and for the future of the brand. A true shame I really used to love it.
HMV and its puppets, appears to be taking very short term decisions that would only make sense if you are trying for a quick exit.
It takes courage to make difficult and long term decisions for a safer future.
What I am seeing here is a quick spreadsheet exercise to make the brand look sexy for potential buyers... Good luck with that

Words of wisdom from Steve West of HMV - in touch, in tune, in love and in front...

http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/News/MostEmailed/1052338/HMV-group-HR-direct...

"It's a bit like pruning some branches to support future growth of the whole tree, although that will be little consolation to some colleagues, so this is not something we have undertaken lightly."

The operation was successful, but the patient died.

Fox has been a disaster for hmv and waterstones. He has managed to turn two specialist retail chains into businesses without identity or direction. The man is clearly out of his depth along with the rest of the directors.

The tragedy here is the people who will inevitably loose their jobs; that's not just a platitude on my part because my daughter works for Waterstones and will probably be affected by the closures. However, how long can the book trade support the shenanigans at Waterstones which is making publishing and bookselling in the UK a laughing stock? Waterstones, run for considerable periods of time by people who know nothing about and have no interest in books, has become more interested in the staff rota at branch level and spurious and short lived promotions at head office than building a serious forward looking business. Waterstones has cost the book trade dear by forcing good independent bookshops to close and replacing passion with promotions, depth of stock with heaps of "celebrity" rubbish and has denigrated the skill of the professional bookseller to that of returns clerk and till monkey. Now the company, owned by a moribund and outdated retailer, has little chance of survival in the age of the internet and the e book. Sad but true, the sooner Wateerstones goes the better, a more attuned retailer will spring up in its place and in five years time Waterstones will be history.

DAPHNE has it a bit mixed up here . First she say's that Waterstones by opening has cost the book trade dear ![At one stage Dillons and Waterstones combined were opening 100,000 sq feet per annum all eagerly stocked by book publishers].Many publishers Headline, Bloombury to name just two emerged nurtured by the milk of Waterstones stock purchases Now she wants the shops to close and presumably the staff to walk to streets . The real danger is that as the existing model no longer works on the high street Waterstones will NOT be replaced by a chain or similar but back filled by more activity from the Grocers and the internet including a race to E books . DISCUSS

Julian, grocers will do what grocers do and good luck to them. They offer a fairly limited range of bestselleers with no service frills and I'm not so snooty to say they shouldn't. I buy books in supermarkets and why not ? Yes, Bloomsbury, Headline and others were in the right place at the right time ad were given a considerable kickstart by Waterstones at the time and jolly good luck to them, but things are very different now. Maybe a new chain won't open to "save the British booktrade", maybe it will. What will happen is that the market will fragment into specialiast shops for the book buyer who wants physical books or a format which is impractical in e book format. There's a good market there, the book to hold in your hand market isn't dead. The e book, which because of its convenience, practicality and price advantage will become very big very quickly and publishers will have to promote to this market very differently if they don't want to be left behind. And the internet seller, despised but efficient; where else can you buy books and a whole load of other goods and have them delivered to you door next day without hassle ? The day of the book browser in the traditional bookshop is not over but there are so many other ways of finding out about books and ordering and reading them change must be inevitable. The fragmentation of the market will make it bigger and stronger, but not if old fashioned attitudes prevail.

Yes, the big W is certainly on the way out, just like the wonder of Woolies.

I'm afraid this is driven in so many ways by people who know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. I'm referring to directors, financiers and bankers, Waterstone's managers and sadly an unassailable majority of the buying public.

E-books and buying off the internet is absolutely no substitute for a proper bookshop, as browsing a subject area of interest, supplemented by guidance from a good bookseller, if needed, can often lead in surprising and rewarding directions.

This is spoken as a father of a bookseller whose shop will close on Sunday, but who knows they will go onto much bigger and better things as a result of this. As will you all. Good luck.

I think that I probably generally agree with you Daphne. However the Booktrade will not replace a chain by a number of niche indies and be stronger as a result. The reading of books is I dont think diminishing its the format and the point of purchase that is changing dramatically . In addition second hand sales always essentially ignored -are in part feeding the heavy book buyer , perhaps outside of London and the SE . Amazon/supermarket book purchases are being swapped in charity shops by the ton .They alone represent an estimated £30m re-sales per annum .

Get the job hunt in soon because I'm still looking.

Is it me or are many of these stores which are being closed ex-Ottakar's sites?

Yes, it's just you

No I work for an original Waterstone's not Ottakers and we ceased trading yesterday.

Lets face it, the sooner the doomed behemoth sinks the better.

I'd prefer a Dr Who-style regeneration in a lean, sustainable smaller chain, run by people who understand their market. Get rid of the dinosaurs - the macho retailers who think that planograms and central controls are the way ahead. Let the talented, intelligent book lovers in the branches show the customers why real bookshops are still worth visiting. What's Waterstone's USP?

Of all the trolls that haunt these boards, Daphne is probably the worst. Seemingly intelligent, she regularly spouts off nonsense that shows no thought, no foresight, no imagination - as she has done above. Surely, Daphne, you understand that Waterstone's - despite its flaws, despite its problems, real and exagerrated - is hugely important to the book world. Not just to its 1000s of staff, or to its 100s of 1000s of customers, but to the publishers and writers whose work it sells. Don't tell me that they are only full of 'celebrity crap' - that is lazy rubbish and you know it. Don't tell me that the indies have a better range, have better events, are more passionate, understand their communities better - you know those are sweeping generalisations, inaccurate and unfair.

The truth is, it is you and your banal opinions that are what is not needed in the book trade - Waterstone's performs a crucial service, supports great initiatives and keeps books and authors in print. What have you done lately, Daphne?

FFS, Waterstones has done nothing except kill off competition and ruin bookselling. Full stop.

no, that's what you just tell yourself to make yourself feel better for your failings

The big W has played it's part, granted, in the takeover of smaller chains, but it was also the big W that brought books to the general public, allowing them access to an industry that for all its plusses is still a snobby and backwards place - i can barely look at some comments for all the class-based drivel that they spew forth

So what Katie Price publishes books and/or other celebrities ghost write biographies? yeah, they're not exactly my favourite books to sell but i'm sure i'm not the only one that's noticed but Waterstone's is a business and it needs to make money. And as a business, its subject to to the tide of market forces, hence we're in a situation where the last bricks and mortar chain is Waterstone's, with elements of Dillons, Hammicks, Ottakar's etc within it and the market is transferring online

now, here's my point (sorry, venting again) - being subject to market forces, those who couldn't compete withered and those who could survived - through some luck and a blunt but effective way of surviving - takeovers - Waterstone's end up on top. They didn't kill bookselling, bookselling just changed and those who couldn't keep up and stay on top died. my fear is now is that Waterstone's is no longer on top and will wither away thanks to others who adapted faster - We're changing, but is it fast enough? only time will tell

but we didn't kill bookselling and i resent your comments with, which i hope you've seen, a passion. stop being a troll and come up with something useful to say. here ends my long tirade...

Hate being Daphne Bentwa. Help Bookseller !

Is it just me or is Daphne a malevolent old trout?
Lashing out incoherently as she does suggests to me one too many bottles of Lambrusco - surely a keyboard warrior doesn't need dutch courage?
Anyhow we at W's will soldier on ignoring this sort of pathetic spite, fostering brilliant new authors and supporting budding publishers until this thing finally unravels. But I tell you this, our undoing will be the consumer and their demand for convenience and price above all else, nothing more.

The undoing will, and has been, chasing after the customers who want convenience and price, rather than focusing on the traditional heavy book buyers who want range and service. The chain expanded beyond it natural size and is suffering for it.

It's a sad day for book lovers when Waterstones start to close branches. Remember how quickly Borders disappeared? Anyone interested in books should be worried because this is just the beginning of Waterstones closures. Do we want the only outlets to be cut price supermarkets, charity shops and online suppliers? It's not rocket science that without revenue from book buyers, publishers and authors won't survive. New books won't be subject to the rigorous selection, editing and proofreading currently offered (most of the time) by publishers and the whole book industry will disappear very quickly. The reading public is diminishing, so perhaps this is an inevitable decline.
By the way, ebook sales made up around 7% of all book sales in 2010.
We should all be making a point of buying as many books as we can in Waterstones from now on if we care about their survival, and care about the future of books.

stop buying from your local indie to goto a Waterstones near you. !!!! the customers will all cry at what a great place the indie and W were once they are gone, unfortunately there are too many book buyers who have transfered their custom to the internet, rarely to the supermarkets as these have very limited range. im afraid they aint coming back as when we are all gone, they can and will still get the book they wanted from amazon,

@ Leigh Russell, you're right - this news certainly carries echoes of what happened to Borders, 18 months-ish ago. They started with a few closures (Swindon, Llantrisant etc), but it just wasn't enough to stem the haemorrhage, and the company limped on for barely 6 months. I take some consolation in the news that Foyles are expanding, albeit cautiously. And Stalmunk, you said "E-books and buying off the internet is absolutely no substitute for a proper bookshop". Mmm...I give this new-fangled internet shopping fad a few months, at best...

Is it just me or is Daphne a malevolent old trout?
Lashing out incoherently as she does suggests to me one too many bottles of Lambrusco - surely a keyboard warrior doesn't need dutch courage?
Anyhow we at W's will soldier on ignoring this sort of pathetic spite, fostering brilliant new authors and supporting budding publishers until this thing finally unravels. But I tell you this, our undoing will be the consumer and their demand for convenience and price above all else, nothing more.

Bollocks !

Obviously you have not lost your job!!

Obviously you have not lost your job!!

Sorry to hear this news. When I worked at Waterstones the booksellers and managers were people that cared about books and so were our customers. Books mattered. People like Robert Topping and Tim Waterstone injected that passion. I am really sorry not just for those folk who worked hard and may be losing their jobs but I am sorry too that there will be less bookshops, booksellers and books on the High Street.

Sorry to hear this news. When I worked at Waterstones the booksellers and managers were people that cared about books. Books mattered. People like Robert Topping and Tim Waterstone injected that passion. I am really sorry not just for those folk who worked hard and may be losing their jobs but I am sorry too that there will be less bookshops, booksellers and books on the High Street.

10 Rules Of A Successful Business:

1. Commit to your Business.
2. Share your Profits with all your associates and treat them as partners.
3. Motivate Your Partners.
4. Communicate everything you possibly can to your partners??
5. Appreciate everything your associates do for the business.
6. Celebrate your success.
7. Listen to everyone in your Company and figure out ways to get them talking.
8.Exceed your customers expectations!
9.Control your expenses better than your competition.
10. Swim upstream!

Well, it's a start!

After twenty years in the book trade I left for brighter fields two years ago. Hammicks, Ottakars, Dillons even SPCK, where are you now? All the branches I worked for were swallowed by the big fish... Waterstones. I worked for Waterstones for seven of those years and grew more and more tired of the same old arguments and the re-invention of the wheel with every new 'campaign'. Lack of discussion with local buyers turned the once proud chain into a homogenised mess of stickering / destickering and centrally run campaigns. I'm very sorry for those losing their jobs. It's not your fault. The mentality of retailers and chasing the bottom line rather than allowing booksellers to do what they do best has led to this sad state of affairs. Good luck to you all.

By Sunset Sasarparilla

And Stalmunk, you said "E-books and buying off the internet is absolutely no substitute for a proper bookshop". Mmm...I give this new-fangled internet shopping fad a few months, at best...

Actually it's Stålmunk.
If you don't have a Swedish keyboard you can type the character by pressing and holding down the Alt key while keying in 0229 on the number keypads.
Thus ALT+0229 = å
Hope that helps. :)

Now to answer.

:sigh: Another highly selective quoter who chops and edits and prunes to try and justify making some irrelevant point.

The context of what was written was quite clear and fully contained within that one short paragraph.

For the hard of understanding however I will explain more fully.

Browsing in the online book retailers does not give the *immediate* and casual access to the huge variety of authors and different ways of dealing with a topic that a well stocked shop can.

Yes, ultimately there are more titles if you can find them online after some searching; however I find this, "people who looked at this also looked at" not at all useful and frankly it can be irritating.

Also it is usually not possible to take a peek inside and see if this particular body of work suits you or addresses the topic in a way you find interesting or even useful.

Unfortunately part of the problem stems from the public who use the bookshop to browse, use the services of the booksellers in research, and then clear off and buy it online.

To repeat myself, knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing. I don't know how some sleep straight at nights.