Blackwell’s sales are up 17% across high street and campus stores in the final week of its current financial year, helped by its shift in focus towards more general titles as well as academic texts.
Blackwell’s sales of general (as opposed to academic) books were up 20% in the first five months of 2018, against a market growth of 1.5%, the chain's m.d. David Prescott told the Guardian. Within that Blackwell’s fiction sales were up 19%, food and drink titles up 52% and children’s 25%.
The retailer's turnover is set to exceed £50m this financial year.
Blackwell's accounts will be formally filed at Companies House later this year, and m.d. David Prescott expects them to show a marked improvement on last year’s pre-tax loss of £3.4m. This will help owner Toby Blackwell, whose great-grandfather founded the bookshop in 1879, to hand ownership of the chain to staff.
“It’s our job to be in a financial position where we take the business from Toby,” he said. “We’ve been there before with a false dawn so this is not the time to make promises. This is a time to get our heads down and sell as many books as is humanly possible.”
In its latest results, Blackwell’s saw rapid revenue growth with like-for-like sales up 12% to £48.3m for the year to June 2017, with Prescott saying at the time sales for the first six months from July 2017 had shot up 20%.
Despite the revenue gains, the company still made a £2.9m loss for the year to 24th June 2017, though this had recovered slightly from a year earlier when it reported a loss of £3.3m.