Waterstones looks set to give its Christmas trade an added boost with the opening of two new branches between now and December 25th.
The chain bookseller will open in the Platinum Mall in Gateshead’s intu Metrocentre on 22nd November, trading from a 4,200sq ft space with a “striking new design”.
The chain is returning to the North East location after closing its previous Gateshead store in 2011. The new outlet will be created in the refreshed design of stores like Hatchards in St Pancras, London, and of the other recently-opened shops in the company’s estate such as Lewes, Ringwood and Southwold.
Waterstones also looks set to open a branch in Epsom, Surrey, after a planning application was submitted to Epsom Council. According to The Surrey Comet, Adaire Properties lodged a planning application with Epsom Council three weeks ago on behalf of Waterstones to lease 5-7 Epsom High Street, which it hopes to open “in time for Christmas trade”.
This location is also one the company is returning to after closing it previous branch there in 2012.
A Waterstones spokesperson said: “Epsom is indeed a place where we would like to open a bookshop having for many years had a very successful one in the town. This closed in 2012 when the lease on the shop ran out.” However, the company added: “As yet we are not able to confirm a new location but hope that this will be possible in the near future.”
The Gateshead shop will focus on attracting families, with a quarter of its shelf space devoted to children’s books and a “busy family-friendly events programme in the pipeline,” which includes mid-week story times and activities for under fives, reading groups including “regular visits from high profile authors.” The Gateshead store will also contain a Café W, selling local produce.
Its manager, Luke Newns, who began his bookselling career five years ago at the Emerson Chambers bookshop in Newcastle city centre and is currently Bookshop Manager at Waterstones in Sunderland, said: “I'm absolutely delighted to be bringing Waterstones back into the Metrocentre, and my team and I are looking forward to providing a friendly, vibrant and engaging new bookshop for all of our new customers.”
Karen Carr, regional marketing manager for intu, added: “We’re delighted to welcome Waterstones back to intu Metrocentre. It has been one of the most requested retailers since it left the centre in 2011 and we’re thrilled that they will be in centre ready for the Christmas rush.”