Blackwell’s plans to open up to six temporary shops in areas associated with book lovers in the run-up to Christmas.
The company has also recently opened a permanent store at Bradford University.
The academic bookselling chain is to open pop-up sites at Christmas markets across the UK and establish short-term leases in permanent buildings. The company has secured Camden Market in London as a pop-up location, due to open soon, and has also opened temporary stores in Bath and Bristol galleries. Further log cabin-style stalls are hoped to be secured at Christmas markets in Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh in the next few weeks.
Blackwell’s head of sales, Scott Hamilton, said the openings would boost Blackwell’s image and increase its consumer reach in the run-up to Christmas. “We have looked to open in sites associated with book lovers. All the temporary shops will be located in successful consumer shopping areas which people know well,” he said.
The new Bradford University bookshop will employ three staff. The campus was previously served by Waterstones, but while the Waterstones store was based outside the campus, the new Blackwell’s store is located within the university premises. “We have a fantastic site right in the student hub,” Hamilton said.
It is the third former Waterstones site Blackwell’s has secured since the retailer announced it would close six earlier this year. Blackwell’s also now runs shops at the universities of Derby and Keele.
Hamilton said the bookseller was confident in its current sales performance and was bucking the average sales trend. “Back to University TCM is down by 15%, but we are on positive growth year-on-year,” he said. “I think there is definitely a feeling among the students this year that they have come to terms with the £9,000 fees a year they have to pay for their courses, so they are spending more like they used to on textbooks.
"We have also worked harder this year than any other year with lecturers to stock the books students really need for their courses and we are also working with more universities than ever to deliver students' bursary schemes, which brings more students into the shops.”