WHS Irish travel stores go local

WHS Irish travel stores go local

<p>W H Smith has hired a full-time Irish buyer as it looks to introduce a book offer in its new Irish travel stores. The stores will source 20% of books from Irish publishers. </p><p>The retailer is opening three branches at Dublin Airport&rsquo;s Terminal Two, which is due to open in November. Seventy per cent of the retail space will be devoted to books across the three shops. </p><p>Two of the shops will be more conventional WHS Travel stores, with a smaller book offer. However, the largest branch, airside in the airport, will have a 2,000 sq ft book department. This is equal to the book space in WHS&rsquo; largest standalone bookshop in Gatwick Airport.</p><p>Alison Scanlon will be the retailer&rsquo;s Irish buyer. She joined this week from Australian book, stationery and entertainment group RED. She previously bought fiction for Australian and New Zealand chains Angus &amp; Robertson, Borders and Whitcoulls. </p><p>Former Borders and Hughes &amp; Hughes buyer Anne Marie Slattery has been appointed as Dublin project manager on a four-month contract.</p><p>Craig Hillier, WHS&rsquo; trading controller for books, recently met with Irish publishers to discuss the retailer&rsquo;s plans. It has an existing travel store in Shannon Airport but its Irish range, formerly only 10% of the total book offer, was bought by the shop&rsquo;s manager.</p><p>Hillier said: &ldquo;We&rsquo;ll be arranging new line meetings with Irish publishers on a monthly basis. The meetings will take place in Dublin. Twenty percent of books will be Irish titles, although individual title numbers are to be confirmed.&rdquo;</p><p>Hillier said the offer would be tailored given the greater interest in local publishing among Irish customers. He said systems were in place to respect territoriality. Marian Keyes&rsquo; titles in store will be published by Poolbeg, rather than by Penguin, for example.</p><p>Hillier said: &ldquo;We will have an entirely bespoke promotional campaign in Ireland including Best of Irish, Irish Author of the Month and Irish Fresh Talent. Our staple UK promotions like Deal of the Week and Read of the Week will also run in Ireland and these will be completely open to Irish publishers.&rdquo;</p><p>Irish content published in Ireland will be supplied direct to store. The retailer is examining the best route for Irish content published in the UK. </p><p>Dermot O&rsquo;Dwyer, m.d. of Gill &amp; Macmillan, said he was pleased WHS was not going to bring a more conventional British offfer to Ireland. He said: &ldquo;The market is different to the UK and there&rsquo;s generally more interest in Irish books. Easons is a dominant player so the arrival of someone <br />else is a good thing providing the economy&rsquo;s recovery continues.&quot;</p>