Cross-industry partnerships 'the future' after Love Charing Cross Road success

Cross-industry partnerships 'the future' after Love Charing Cross Road success

Foyles and Blackwell bookshops have reported sales and footfall increases following their combined Love Charing Cross Road mini-festival last Saturday (30th June).

The two bookshops came together to organise the event to counteract the 10% reduction in footfall and sales caused by the Crossrail roadworks which have seen the main access route from Oxford Street cut off to shoppers while a major new railway link is built. It also marked the beginning of Independent Booksellers Week and National Reading Group Day.

Foyles said it saw a 19% uplift in footfall from the activities, which included a crossroad literary treasure hunt, while Blackwell has reported a 15% hike in revenue on that day. Both retailers have said it was just the first joint venture of more to come to help attract customers to Charing Cross Road. The bookshops also recruited other businesses on the road to join in the festival, and had their own Love Charing Cross Road balloons printed to mark the occasion.

Miriam Robinson, head of marketing at Foyles, said: “We were incredibly pleased with the day—our footfall was up 19% from last week, the shop had a great vibe, customers were really engaged and the range of activity outside meant that the whole street felt alive. We had fabulous support from publishers, the media and our customers, showing a real appetite for the idea, so feel we now have a great model to build on for the future.”

She added: “One thing is certain—we couldn't have achieved this on our own. Working with Blackwell meant we were both able to combine ideas and extend our reach. Cross-industry—and indeed cross-retail—partnerships seem the obvious way forward."

Steve Orchard, manager at Blackwell Charing Cross, also praised support from publishers and customers to make the festival a success. He said: “Working together with our friends at Foyles was a brilliantly rewarding experience, between us we made things happen to short deadlines and learnt a huge amount in the process. This is just the beginning of what will be an ongoing and growing series of events celebrating Charing Cross Road. Watch this space!"

Events were held with Simon Callow, Ben Aaronovitch and John Lanchester in Blackwell, and with young adult authors Sarwat Chadda and Sara Grant at Foyles, while live jazz events took place in Ray's Jazz Café at Foyles.
Other activities included an evening of Soho stories at the café at Foyles, with Barry Miles, Clayton Littlewood, Radcliffe Royds and Tony Hickson; and boutique ice creams from The Icecreamists in the Foyles Gallery.

Blog: All you need is Love