Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Waterstones to close 11 branches

As reported in the media at large and on The Bookseller website, Waterstones is to close 11 branches by the end of the week. The branches concerned are throughout the UK and Ireland, with the following outlets affected:

Dublin, Dawson Street
Dublin, Jervis Street
Colchester, Culver Square
Worcester, High Street
Guildford, North Street
Stafford, Guildhall
Hemel Hempstead, Marlowes Centre
Coventry, Cathedral Lanes
Tiverton
Luton
Chelmsford, Meadows

The branches at Slough, Maidenhead and Edinburgh East End were three stores already earmarked for closure by the end of the year, which leaves another half dozen stores to be identified. There seems to be some speculation that this move is more in response to cutting high rental overheads rather than  pruning out non-profitable stores. Who knows?

Perhaps one element is when a chain tries to diversify to stay current and competitive it loses some of the spark which make it a high-flyer to begin with. Waterstones, like its HMV sister, doesn't appear to have been run very successfully in the last few years and this seems to be the consequence.
Some people may say that big branch closures will be a good thing for the small independant ... Possibly, as long as the independant managed to stay alive for all this time, but it might just mean that consumers are more likely to go to their local supermarket and buy there.

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