Morrisons has become a member of the Booksellers Association (BA), The Bookseller can reveal.
The retailer joins fellow supermarket chains Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda in being a member of the trade body. The move reflects Morrisons’ growing commitment to books over the last two years, during which time it has stocked more titles and presented more book promotions front of store.
“We’re proud to be a member of the Booksellers Association. Books form an integral part of the home and leisure departments in many of our stores,” a spokesperson for the supermarket said.
Morrisons joins the BA at a time when it—along with rivals Sainsbury’s and Tesco—is being hit by falling sales across its business; all three have recently made a raft of head office redundancies.
The Bookseller reported recently that Sainsbury’s head of book buying Phil Carroll left the company last month, with Pete Selby taking the role of music and books trading manager in the interim.
Meanwhile, Tesco is yet to replace its head of book buying, Paul Duffy, who left the company last November to take a role at the Daily Mail.
Morrisons too is making cuts. Earlier this month, the chain revealed it would close 23 convenience stores and axe 300 jobs after recording losses of nearly £800m last year as a consequence of it slashing prices and investing in a new online delivery service to rival its competitors.
However, while supermarkets are under pressure, they are still key places for children and their parents to discover books, according to Nielsen Book Research (NBR).
Hazel Kenyon, NBR head of publisher account management, told delegates at the Nielsen Book Insights Conference last week (25th March) of the importance of supermarkets in driving sales of children’s books. “Buying on the high street—and especially in supermarkets—is still key for driving sales of children’s picture books, outweighing the sales of children’s books online,” she said.