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Simon & Schuster UK is one of the leading general book publishing companies in the UK. The group is based in London with sister companies in the US, Canada, Australia and India. The UK 


BOOK RETAILER OF THE YEAR WATERSTONES


THE SHORTLIST


WINNER Waterstones  Book-ish Moon Lane Tesco


W H Smith High Street


W H Smith Travel


W


aterstones’ triumph in this award is reward for a remarkable revitalisa- tion under managing director James Daunt. In 2019, eight years on from


his arrival, it had a palpable sense of purpose and energy, and emerged from a brutal 12 months for the UK high street with an impressive increase in sales and profitability. “By any standards Waterstones is an amazing turnaround story,” said the British Book Awards judges. Some of its success was the result of going


back to the basics, investing in a bookseller development programme and—a pay dispute notwithstanding—placing new value and responsibility on its shop-floor teams. It opened six new sites, while integrating Foyles and refur- bishing many older stores. It bolstered its online offering with the launch of a transactional app and podcast, and embedded Waterstones Plus as a first-class loyalty scheme for both in-store


15


and website customers. Three books in particular showed Waterstones’


strengths in 2019. Bridget Collins’ début The Binding was a classic example of how its team’s hand-selling and support can propel a novel into the bestseller lists. In Charlie Mackesy’s The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, it confirmed its eye for a leftfield hit and the power of its Book of the Year Prize. And with Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, it proved its clout with big literary brands, using pre-order promotions, signed copies and events to dominate sales of the most eagerly awaited srelease of the year. Like all high-street retailers, Waterstones


faces the huge challenge of rebuilding from the coronavirus crisis. But it does so in better shape than for many years, and with renewed goodwill from publishers. “It’s never felt more important to have a successful and flourishing Waterstones on our high streets,” said the judges.


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