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Market Commentary

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Weekly Retail & Leisure News - 08​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ February, 2016​​​​

Waterstones sales rise, as e-tailer opens in John Lewis stores

Waterstones, the UK’s largest bookshop chain, is on the path to recovery with its first rise in sales under new ownership. The company has invested over £50m in improving its shop environment and infrastructure over the past two years, including opening 28 W Cafés in stores. This investment, along with an improved range of books, has resulted in a sales lift of 1% to £392.4m in the year to April 27. It has also been announced this week that Waterstones Piccadilly store, Europe's largest bookshop, has been bought by an Italian pension fund for £92m, highlighting investor appetite for Central London retail.

Another retailer to announce positive figures last week was DFS, who reported a 7% rise in the 26 weeks to January 30. The retailer has been investing in a “measured programme” of store expansion both in the UK and Europe. The Sofa Workshop, Dwell and DFS Netherlands businesses all contributed to the sales increase.

In other news, it was also announced last week that womenswear e-tailer, Finery, will take physical space in six John Lewis stores. Finery has attracted 100,000 customers since launching 12 months ago and registered £5m of sales in its first year of business. This news, along with as yet unsubstantiated reports from the US, that Amazon are planning to open 400 physical bookshops worldwide, underlines one of JLL’s 2016 Property Predictions, namely that we are likely to see a broadening of retailer demand for physical space, not least from e-tailers.

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