The Walthamstow branch of Waterstones remains closed, a week on from a major fire at a Walthamstow shopping centre.
Around 150 firefighters tackled the flames at The Mall in east London, which includes the Walthamstow branch of Waterstones last Monday (22nd July), with police declaring the blaze a major incident. The fire destroyed more than half of the roof of the two-storey building, while part of the first floor was also damaged.
Waterstones m.d. James Daunt says the extent of the damage is unclear, but is believed to be minimal. The two-floor Waterstones store is based in the middle of The Mall, and features a large children’s section.
Members of the Waterstones branch have been working at other stores while the The Mall team attempt a phased reopening of the centre.
Daunt told The Bookseller: "Fortunately the fire was the other end of the shopping centre to us. I feel more sorry for the guys at the other end. Some people are going in the store today (Monday 29th July) to see the extent of damage and see if there’s been smoke damage. If there has been smoke damage to the books we will have to replace them. It’s unfortunate because the store is doing really well in an area which is really rejuvenated. The staff have been redeployed to other stores but hopefully we will be up and trading again soon. A situation like this is extremely unusual."
The Mall started opening some of the centre's 66 shops on 26th July. “Our overriding aim continues to be to ensure that the centre and its car park is open for trading as usual as soon as possible," the centre tweeted. “Unfortunately it is too early at this stage to be definitive on what these phases will be and when they will be open. We would like to again thank everyone in the local community for your ongoing patience and understanding at this difficult time.”
The cause of the fire is currently unknown.
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