Daunt: 'Waterstones could break even this financial year'

Daunt: 'Waterstones could break even this financial year'

Waterstones will “break even” this year if the retailer has a good Christmas, according to its m.d James Daunt.

In an interview with the Guardian, the Waterstones boss said the chain’s intention was to eradicate its losses by the end of its financial year.

“We are heading towards break-even in the current financial year,” he said. “If we have a decent Christmas, that is where we will get to.”

In February 2013, Daunt said it would take two years to transform Waterstones when it reported operating losses of £25.4m and judging from his latest comments, it would seem his prediction was correct. In January this year, the company reported it had halved its losses to £12.2m.

Daunt also said the company had seen a boost from Black Friday (28th November), with titles like Girl Online, the debut novel by YouTube star Zoe Sugg, known as Zoella, selling in high numbers, along with children’s titles from Jeff Kinney and Guinness World Records.

The company ran a half price offer on many titles throughout last week in the run up to Black Friday. “We had a sensational day, which I must say slightly surprised us,” he said. “We saw a huge sales uplift which was very nice.”

Last week Daunt told The Bookseller he welcomed Black Friday as it created “excitement” around retail.

Amazon reported it had seen a record day for orders to its UK store on Black Friday, with more than 5.5m goods bought, equating to 64 items per second sold.  

Xavier Garambois, who is vice-president of EU retail at Amazon, said: "Ever since we introduced Black Friday to the UK in 2010, sales have increased year-on-year but this year really has surpassed all of our expectations. "The public's appetite for Black Friday has been bigger than ever, kicking off the Christmas shopping period in earnest and establishing Black Friday as a fixture on the UK Christmas shopping calendar."

Title of Girl Online corrected.