Sunday, October 24, 2021

Waterstones records first annual profit in 8 years

Waterstones has achieved its first annual profit since the 2008 financial crisis, according to its full-year trading update.

The bookseller chain recorded a £9.8 million pre-tax profit in the year to April 30, 2016, a contrast to the previous year when it posted a £4.5 million loss.

Chief executive James Daunt attributed this to a renaissance in novel sales, which increased by 4.3 per cent to £409 million thanks to strong interest in children‘s books, teenage literature and general fiction. 

Daunt said demand for Amazon‘s Kindle e-reader has fallen dramatically and that is why they have been removed from most of Waterstones‘ 280 stores.

“It‘s not just the UK, almost all markets have seen similar growth,” Daunt told the Guardian.

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“I don‘t think readers are going off digital reading. It‘s being used in a more indulgent way – when travelling – or if you are old and need a big font. 

“But there are lots of studies which have found that reading a physical book is a very different experience. You remember it much more. It resides with you more than an ebook.”

Watersones was acquired from HMV by Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut in 2011 for £53m.

It‘s estimated that Mamut spent £100 million on transforming Waterstones into the modern retailer it is today, and reports indicate that he may cash out on the firm within the next few years now that it‘s turning around a profit.

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