The book trade journals and the press tell us 'Waterstone's Congratulates Itself As Sales Fell Another 3 Percent'. Really! Yes, Waterstones have done well to reduce their operating costs and so cut their losses to a mere £30 million or so last year from £40 million the previous year. This has been at the expense of store closures - there is now no bookshop in Watford, and Waterstones closed 6 stores out of 12 on university campuses, and numerous other High Street stores. The ones that remain have seen savage staff redundancies.
Fair enough, cuts were needed, and new coffee shops in some stores are said to be attracting customers, as funding from Russian billionaire Mamut (some £56 million) has bought the chain valuable time to try and right itself financially.
But let's not forget, in all the self congratulation, that the cut in operating costs has been at the expense of stores... and oh yes, the booksellers who have lost their jobs, some of whom worked for the company for many years.
Meanwhile, book sales continue to fall...