Waterstones warns on Christmas shortages amid UK lorry driver crisis

Waterstones
Waterstones, the UK’s biggest high street bookseller, said it had upped stocks of books by a quarter
// Waterstones warns on delays this Christmas due to Brexit and Covid-19
// Amazon also warns on stock shortages

Waterstones is among major booksellers to warn on stock shortages during Christmas as a result of Brexit and Covid-19.

Publishers and retailers have warned of potential delays on Christmas books as the shortage of lorry drivers affects deliveries.

Waterstones, the UK’s biggest high street bookseller, said it had upped stocks of books by a quarter and ordered early to try to offset distribution problems.


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“We will have shops fuller than ever before to make sure we don’t get caught by logistics problems as we did last year,” Foyles and Daunt Books founder James Daunt said.

However, he said that the longer lead times on books, particularly those printed abroad, could cause problems later in the year.

“My concern is that at the beginning of December if we need 50,000 copies of whatever unforeseen literary hit and it’s not there,” Daunt said.

Meanwhile, Amazon warned that Richard Osman’s new book, The Man Who Died Twice, which is due out on September 16, could not be delivered until just over a week after launch day.

The publishers Penguin Random House, Hachette UK and HarperCollins have all acknowledged distribution difficulties across the industry which had forced businesses to stock up early.

Bloomsbury Publishing chief executive, Nigel Newton also flagged up delays.

“The cocktail of the Brexit and Covid-driven driver exodus occurring against an upswing in consumer demand plus the equally pressing problem of sea-freight capacity shortages mean that our crystal ball finds it difficult to say how long delivery delays will last,” he said.

He said the company had been able to minimise the problem by managing demand for its books and a number of other measures, including being flexible about where they were printed.

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