Good sales over the Jubilee double Bank Holiday point to a “promising” summer for retailers, according to one senior book buyer, despite recent Nielsen Bookscan statistics showing printed book sales hitting a nine-year low.
Foyles head of buying Jasper Sutcliffe said: “The influx of visitors to London gave a significant boost to sales at our St Pancras and Westfield Stratford City branches. The combination of disappointing weather and the focus on the extensive Jubilee festivities meant that our central London shops found things a bit tougher, but on the whole the first act in a summer of global attention on London looks promising for retailers throughout the summer.”
Sainsbury’s book buying manager Phil Carroll was also pleased with sales performance, saying sales last week compared “really closely” to the same period in 2011. “Even given the Bank Holidays and the shorter opening hours, sales are standing up this week as well.”
Nic Bottomley, owner of Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath, said sales had slightly exceeded expectations, being only 10% down on an “averagely good” Monday and Tuesday, despite shorter opening hours. But Simon Key, co-owner of The Big Green Bookshop in north London, said the weekend was “quiet”. “It would have been all right if we had been based along the Thames,” he said.
Pages of Hackney in east London, The Children’s Bookshop in Muswell Hill, north London, and the Silverdell Books in Kirkham, Lancashire, were among those closed for the long weekend. Silverdell Books owner Elaine Silverwood said: “The run-up to the Jubilee did make a difference. We sold good numbers of Jubilee titles. The eye-catching Andrew Marr bunting [supplied by Pan Macmillan for The Diamond Queen] resulted in a really big spike in sales for the book.”
According to Nielsen Bookscan data, printed book sales slumped 9% to their lowest in nine years in the week to 26th May, with a spend of £20.3m.
This week's BookScan figures will be available tomorrow (8th June).