Waterstones and Foyles open new bookshops in summer show of support for high street

Waterstones and Foyles open new bookshops in summer show of support for high street

Waterstones in Nottingham City Centre.

Sam Montgomery

By Sam Montgomery

Published: 02/08/2023

- 20:56

Book chain continues to believe in brick-and-mortar

Waterstones and its subsidiary Foyles have put in place plans to open up three more stores this summer, as they look to keep the post-lockdown reading boom alive.

The move adds to the 13 locations that Waterstones opened last year and demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to the high street.

A brand new Waterstones bookshop in Blackburn opened its doors this week, welcoming customers in the Blackburn Mall shopping centre.

Replacing a WH Smith store that buckled in 2020, the shop will be the only dedicated bookshop in town.

Members of the media surround Caroline Lennon (not seen), the first and only customer in the queue to purchase a copy of Spare, the newly released autobiography from the Duke of Sussex, as she leaves Waterstones Piccadilly, London on Tuesday January 10, 2023.


Hannah Rimmer, bookshop manager at the Waterstones Blackburn store, told the Bookseller: “We are delighted to return to Blackburn with our brand-new bookshop, which will be a great destination for local readers.

“Children’s reading is a particular passion of ours and we are looking forward to welcoming families and young readers to our beautiful children’s department.

"With this in mind, we are very happy to confirm that The Gruffalo will be attending our launch event on Saturday 5th August at 11 a.m.

“We cannot wait to share all the wonderful new publishing with our local community; there is nothing quite like visiting a bookshop and discovering your next favourite read.”

In 2013, Waterstones opened a store in Blackburn at the former Toymaster outlet on King William Street, but ended up closing its doors three years later.

Waterstones had 311 shops as of June 2022.


The return of the bookseller acts as a significant litmus test for the current fervour for reading in the UK.

Meanwhile, Foyles is readying the reopening of its location at Waterloo Station after it was closed down by a Network Rail redevelopment last year.

The site is set to open its doors in mid-August.

Waterstones also opened a shop in Petersfield in June, which was described as “highly anticipated by local readers and the community.”

Kate Skipper, Chief Operating Officer of Waterstones Holdings, is reported by the Bookseller to have said: “We are very thankful to our bookselling teams who continue to create such welcoming new bookshops, tailoring each store to their local communities.”


The old Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road, London.

John Stillwell/PA Wire

Waterstones purchased Foyles for an undisclosed fee in 2018.

At the time, Waterstones chief executive James Daunt said: “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.”

Foyles chairman, Christopher Foyle, said of the deal: “My family and I are delighted that Foyles is entering a new chapter, one which secures the brand’s future and protects its personality.”

Waterstones had 311 shops as of June 2022, and for the financial year ending April 2022 it posted a £42.1million profit after tax.

This was an increase on the £2.9million made in profit after tax in 2020/21 and £19.7m in 2019/20.

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