Apr 17, 2022

Waterstones turns new page as custodian of independent bookselling

After successfully launching in 1990 the eponymous Daunt Books, a London-based chain that remains independent under his ownership, the 58-year-old former banker was appointed to rejuvenate Waterstones in 2011. In the UK, Waterstones has been criticised for paying staff less than the real living wage, though Daunt defends the policy of employing people on what he calls "Inadequate" entry-level wages, saying the company promotes quickly. Waterstones can take comfort from Amazon's failings in physical retail after the company last month said it would close its 68 bricks-and-mortar book, toy and homeware stores in the US and UK to focus on groceries. Sales at Barnes & Noble have started to rise, while Daunt said Waterstones had recovered from a dip during the pandemic. Daunt expects Elliott to exit its investment in a matter of years, his end goal being to take Waterstones public.

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