3-for-2 an "irritating" offer - Daunt

3-for-2 an "irritating" offer - Daunt

Scrapping Waterstone’s 3-for-2 offer will make customers focus more on books rather than price, the retailer’s m.d James Daunt has said.

The Bookseller revealed in August the chain was bringing to an end its iconic offer, which has been at the chain for more than a decade. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Daunt said his reason for getting rid of Waterstone’s decade-long 3-for-2 book offer benefitted authors, the public and unmotivated shop staff.

He said: "If you fill your entire front of shop with 3-for-2s, and you end up plastering stickers over an enormous range of books, it becomes simply irritating. You look at these great big tables – and personally I lose the ability to focus on a particular book.”

Daunt accepted ending the offer would lead to a fall in sales at the chain. He said: "Yes, sales will fall but they are not going to go down for long. What I am telling the staff is that we will have much nicer bookshops for the consumer to buy books in. They will come back more often and, ultimately, sales will go up. You just need to be patient while we wait for that to happen."

He said ending the promotion may help to reduce returns, which he estimated at one-in-five of all books the company stocks, and described as “totally insane”.

Daunt also used the interview, in which he dismissed Amazon as a "really dispiriting" place to buy books, to correct one assumption held about him. He said: "The misconception that absolutely needs to be dispelled about me is that you think I shouldn't discount. I happened not to in my own bookshops because I couldn't afford to. Fortunately in my new place of work that is no longer the case."