W H Smith will open two dedicated children's bookshops, branded as Zoodle, in Manchester Airport in February. The retailer will also open its first BooksPlus shop somewhere in the UK this spring.
The company revealed plans to work on a variety of new formats in its a.g.m. last October, with the first Zoodle shop opening in Melbourne Airport last week.
WHS has departed from its signature blue branding for the Melbourne Zoodle store, opting for a more children-friendly bright yellow fascia inside and outside the shop instead. It sells children's books, toys, games and stationery, and features life-size drawings of characters such as Wally from Where's Wally? on the store units.
A WHS unit dedicated mainly to books, called BooksPlus, will also open in the UK this spring, although design and location details have not yet been revealed.
Publishers have welcomed the new store designs and location. Kerr MacRae, executive director of Simon & Schuster, said: "It is important to move the story along in terms of specialisation. We have hardly got over the loss of Ottakar's in terms of dedicated high street booksellers, so thinking outside the box can only be a good thing."