Leading bookseller Waterstones has begun a company-wide consultation ahead of a restructure, affecting some 560 managers, it has been reported today.
Waterstones, which launched an ad campaign towards the end of last year highlighting the importance of bookshops, is to restructure in a bid to focus more strongly on “traditional shop floor bookselling”, according to The Bookseller.
In an email sent to staff last night, Managing Director of the chain James Daunt explained that all employees operating as Branch Manager, Assistant Manager, General Manager and Deputy Manager will enter consultation as these roles are set to be abolished and replaced by a new Bookshop Manager role which will “call on different skills”.
Some stores may have multiple Bookshop Managers and current managers are able to apply for the position so it is presently unclear how many jobs are to be cut.
Daunt defending the move in the email, telling staff: “It is particularly important that we do this because more than ever before our managers will be central to our ability to deliver effective bookshops: the decisions that define the character of our bookshops will fall to them in the new role.
“The future of Waterstones ultimately rests on the skill and effort of the bookselling teams in our shops and the leadership given to them.”
Earlier this year, the retailer restructured its regional management teams and is also placing its online operations under a “fundamental review”.
In order to further support stores, Waterstones will also work to ensure a more responsive head office as well as a competent Hub and Daunt explained that such evolution was necessary in order to support future growth, apologising that such a move comes “at the very moment that we are doing well”.
He added: “The context, however, is the current unforgiving bookselling environment.
“We may be running better bookshops, and running these in a very different manner to before, but we have yet to recognise this in our management structure.
“If we are to secure the future of Waterstones, we must take the difficult step to do so.”