High Street

Waterstones set to axe HQ roles

Waterstones is reportedly set to make a number of redundancies at its Piccadilly-based head office.

According to the Bookseller, the group said it was “currently in consultation” with those affected by the cuts, but declined to confirm the number of jobs at risk.

In addition, a spokesperson confirmed the group has not yet reopened a “number” of stores where “circumstances made this impractical”. 

The sites that are yet to reopen include a selection of campus branches, as well as its store in Leadenhall Market in London

While its Covent Garden store reopened last month, it closed again after a week’s trading due to the lack of footfall in central London.

A Waterstones spokesperson told the Bookseller: “It is with great regret that Waterstones is to make a number of head office redundancies and is currently in consultation with those whose Piccadilly-based roles are affected. 

“These are part of a number of measures undertaken to align the overheads of the business to the level of sales now being achieved.”

They added: “Waterstones has reopened all of its shops, excepting a small number where the circumstances make this impractical. As for almost all high street retailers, sales are lower than before the pandemic, notably in our city-centre shops. 

“Notwithstanding the strong online performance of Waterstones.com, it is necessary to reduce the cost base of the business to reflect the new reality of our overall trading.”

CEO James Daunt had previously warned of the effect the pandemic would have on the book chain’s sales. 

Last month, Daunt told the Bookseller: “However, he told The Bookseller in June: “I think we will have lost forever that portion of our sales while we were closed, there is going to be no rebound in the way you can normally expect [if there is a major disruption]. 

“All of these lost sales generally come back, but that isn’t going to be the case now. For us and most independents, the end of March, April and May sales are gone, and that’s a huge financial hit. It’ll also take a while to get back to normal so there will be a further loss through the following months.”

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