Raft of initiatives from new-look Waterstone

<p>A relaunched loyalty card, new book club with Grazia magazine, an &ldquo;authoritative&rdquo; backlist range, a new titles buying tool and &ldquo;more attractive&rdquo; stores are among the plans Waterstone&rsquo;s has for turning around its business.</p><p>The retailer held its supplier conference at the Relentless Garage in north London on Monday. Managing director Dominic Myers told an audience of around 200 publishers: &ldquo;We&rsquo;re very clear about the degree to which we need to improve our proposition. That is reflected in a number of initiatives&mdash;tailored range, more attractive stores, local charts.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m clear that at the moment the stores are not attractive enough. They need to be more attractive, more exciting and certainly more interesting to customers.&rdquo; Earlier this month, Waterstone&rsquo;s revealed it was revamping the look of 20 stores above right, as the first planned in a chain-wide revamp.</p><p>John Lewis, trade non-fiction range buyer discussed the retailer reviewing its entire core stock, a task that will be completed by September. He said backlist would be stocked according to sales potential as well as authority. He said: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s important to have the bestsellers in there but if you look at food and drink, if we only had bestselling titles there would be nothing but celebrity titles and books about making cup cakes . . . If we are to succeed as a bookseller, we must combine both types of books and make the section dynamic and the best they can be.&rdquo;</p><p>Head of fiction Toby Bourne spoke of the retailer&rsquo;s shift towards &ldquo;review and recommendation rather than focus on price&rdquo;. However, he reiterated the chain&rsquo;s commitment to the three for two campaign. He said: &ldquo;It continues to deliver range and choice and is a key offer for us.&rdquo;<br />Bourne also revealed stores would have a new buying tool for new titles through an intranet link. </p><p>Stores will be able to access data from Waterstone&rsquo;s central buying team, BookScan and publishers, and change orders accordingly.</p><p>The retailer urged publishers to share as much information as early as possible to build what it described as &ldquo;hero titles&rdquo;. Fiona Allen, head of PR and events, said: &ldquo;We&rsquo;re not just interested in new books. We want to support backlist and work with you on interesting and dynamic promotions.&rdquo; </p><p>Product director Tim Watson asked publishers to be reasonable on retail pricing. He said: &ldquo;Work with us to price books more sensibly given the economic climate.&rdquo;</p><p>The retailer also revealed it would relaunch its loyalty card later this year, as well as run a book club with Grazia magazine, but declined to give further details.</p>