Waterstones has posted flat sales for December, with bad weather and the general election causing a "distraction" in the middle of the key trading period.
Christmas sales were level with December 2018, with the retailer also suggesting a lack of a standout title and Christmas falling on a Wednesday contributed to the results.
Waterstones said: "Christmas 2019 was challenging with bad weather and the election causing a distraction in the middle of the peak, and the fact that Christmas fell on a Wednesday focused the majority of trading on the last four days. However, despite the more testing circumstances and a later start to Christmas shopping, we were very pleased to deliver a solid Christmas, ending up with sales level to last year. We did so in the absence of a blockbuster title, let alone one as extraordinary as last year’s Becoming, that attracts the more occasional book buyers into bookshops. Happily, there was a good range of other titles and our shops have shown the strength of good bookselling and bookseller recommendation."
Titles that did sell well included the chain's Book of The Year The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy (Ebury) and Greta Thunberg's No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference (Penguin).
The Beast Of Buckingham Palace by David Walliams (HarperCollins), Tall Tales and Wee Stories by Billy Connolly (Two Roads), Margaret Atwood's Booker-winning The Testaments (Chatto & Windus), Lady In Waiting by Anne Glenconner (Hodder & Stoughton) and Adam Kay's Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas (Picador) also sold "particularly well".
Away from bricks and mortar, online and click-and-collect sales "grew strongly" at around 20% over the calendar year.
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