Waterstones posts flat sales during “nerve-wracking” Christmas

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Waterstones Christmas sales James Daunt Elliott Advisors
Waterstones parent company Elliott Advisors acquired US book retailer Barnes & Noble in a £538m deal last year
// Waterstones registers flat Christmas sales
// CEO James Daunt said Waterstones had to work harder as there was not a “blockbuster” book to be sold during the festive period
// Waterstones’ online and click-and-collect sales grew at around 20% over the calendar year

Waterstones has recorded flat sales for the Christmas period despite earlier predictions, the General Election and bad weather.

Waterstones chief executive James Daunt said the book retailer’s Christmas sales were flat in December compared with the previous year, Retail Week reported.

Daunt said Waterstones had to work harder as there was not a “blockbuster” book to be sold during the crucial Christmas trading period.


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During Christmas 2018, sales of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s autobiography accounted for 1.8 per cent of all Waterstones’ sales in December.

The retail boss also blamed Waterstones’ flat sales on the fact that Christmas fell on a Wednesday in 2019, which meant the retailer had to “whack everything into” the final four “nerve-wracking” days.

Meanwhile, Waterstones’ online and click-and-collect sales grew at around 20 per cent over the calendar year, albeit from a smaller base.

In mid-June last year, Waterstones’ parent company Elliott Advisors acquired US book retailer Barnes & Noble in a $683 million (£538 million) deal.

Daunt said he will be heading back to New York to focus on his other role as chief executive of Barnes & Noble, while chief operating officer Kate Skipper heads up the UK operation.

Daunt plans to take the Waterstones model to the US as part of the turnaround strategy for Barnes & Noble, which is reportedly struggling in its home country.

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5 COMMENTS

    • Because Amazon dont pay taxes or a living wage. It’s up to you where you spend your money, but I’d rather avoid profiting a billionaire who makes his staff have timed toilet breaks (if any) and keep bookstores on the high street.

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