Blackwell's holds up in tough markets

<p>Liz Bury</p><p>Blackwell's has driven margin improvement on flat sales during the past 18 months, as its rivals stepped up the pace of competition.</p><p>Sales over Christmas were "flat", against a strong performance the previous year. Dominic Myers, m.d., said that average discounts were cut by about 5% compared to 2002, helping to raise margin. January sales had been well executed, selling off overstocks, remainders and some old stock.</p><p>The back-to-university period, covering eight to 10 weeks from the beginning of September, saw a more intensively competitive market. "Waterstone'...

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