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Waterstones is Buying Foyles

Two UK bookstore chains are merging. Waterstones, a chain of 250 stores with revenues around 388 million pounds per year, is buying Foyles, a chain of 7 stores generating around 25 million pounds per year (according to revenue statements filed with Companies House).

This is a big deal in the UK because these are two of the biggest bookstore chains in the country. The combined revenues are about the same as Books-a-Million’s revenues here in the US (source).

James Daunt, Waterstones m.d., said: “We are honoured to be entrusted with the Foyles business, and greatly look forward to joining forces with the Foyles bookselling team.  Together, we will be stronger and better positioned to protect and champion the pleasures of real bookshops in the face of Amazon’s siren call. It is an exciting and invigorating time in bookselling as good bookshops are rediscovering their purpose in the fight back against online and e-reading.  At Waterstones, we see our future as responsible stewards of shops that strive to serve their customers each according to their own distinct personality.  This is nowhere more important than with those shops – Hatchards, Hodges Figgis and now Foyles – that have such singular heritages.

"The Foyles booksellers join a company that celebrates the traditional virtues of Foyles bookselling as equally as it does the illustrious history of Foyles itself.  We take on this responsibility with pride and confidence and are committed to ensuring Foyles a future as bright as its past.”

Christopher Foyle said: “My family and I are delighted that Foyles is entering a new chapter, one which secures the brand’s future and protects its personality. I look forward to witnessing the exciting times ahead for the company founded by my Grandfather and his brother 115 years ago.”

image by ell brown via Flickr

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Mike Cane September 7, 2018 um 6:56 am

>This is a big deal in the UK because these are two of the two biggest bookstore chains in the country.

Foyles has just 7 stores. WTF. Is that correct?

Nate Hoffelder September 7, 2018 um 6:59 am


Disgusting Dude September 7, 2018 um 7:30 am

Five in London.

Xaver Basora September 7, 2018 um 7:41 am


What’s the goal and will it pass British antimonpoly scrutiny?


Nate Hoffelder September 7, 2018 um 7:52 am

Amazon sells about 5 times as many books, so yes, it will probably pass muster

Nate Hoffelder September 7, 2018 um 8:16 am

I think the goal is that the Foyle family decided now was a good time to get out.

I wonder if they approached Amazon?

DaveMich September 7, 2018 um 10:45 am

A good time indeed…

"Foyles made a pre-tax loss of £88,800 in the 12 months to June 30, 2017 despite sales growing 6 per cent to £26.6million. At the time, the directors said heightened fears of terrorism and subsequent extra security measures meant fewer customers at its key locations. "


Nate Hoffelder September 7, 2018 um 1:11 pm

I’m sure Waterstones MD James Daunt can turn that around, but yeah, that strikes me as a good reason to sell.

Mark Williams – The New Publishing Standard September 7, 2018 um 3:35 pm

The Bookseller also notes said Foyles losses come "after overhauling its supply chain and logistics systems".

Foyles had also just landed a major national expansion deal, making it a very attractive acquisition for Waterstones.

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