Waterstones profits soar as shoppers head back to shops
National High Street Bookseller Waterstones have recorded soaring full-year profits as customers returned to bookshops after Covid restrictions eased.
For the financial year ending April 2022, the bookshop chain posted a £42.1m profit after tax, an increase from £2.9m in 2020/21 and £19.7m in 2019/20. Sales rose 73% to £399.8m from the prior Covid-hit year. Against 2019/20, sales were 6.3% up.
In its first full-year performance post pandemic, Waterstones said it benefited from the scrapping of lockdowns and restrictions.
The retailer said its acquisition of independent bookseller Blackwell’s in March 2022 “exemplified its confidence in the business”.
The acquisition of Blackwell’s came after Waterstones bought Foyles in September 2018. It brought Blackwell’s into the same group as US bookseller Barnes & Noble, which like Waterstones is owned by US hedge fund Elliott Investment Management.
Despite its renewed confidence, the bookseller warned that reduced footfall, rising inflation, lower customer confidence and supply chain issues may continue to be a challenge in the future.
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