Waterstones’ profits in Ireland double in year to April 2016

Russian-owned bookseller has seen sales climb 7% in Irish stores in rising market

Waterstones, which owns Hodges Figgis in Dublin as well as  the Cork branch of Waterstones, recorded a pretax profit of €1.9m. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Waterstones, which owns Hodges Figgis in Dublin as well as the Cork branch of Waterstones, recorded a pretax profit of €1.9m. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Booksellers Waterstones more than doubled its profits in Ireland in the year to the end of April 2016, accounts just filed at the Companies Office show.

The company, which owns Hodges Figgis in Dublin as well as the Cork branch of Waterstones, recorded a pretax profit of €1.9 million in the period, compared to €712,000 in the previous 12 months.

The sales figures will also have made pleasant reading for Waterstones Booksellers Ireland Limited. It enjoyed revenue of €14.2 million in the period, up 7 per cent.

The directors said the increase in revenues combined with “continued improvement in operational efficiencies and margin improvements” to result in an operating profit before exceptional items of €1.6 million, up from €659,000 in the previous 12 months.

The calendar year 2015 had been a positive one for book sales in the Irish market. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins was the top-seller, according to data from Nielsen, with Grey by EL James (an extension of the Fifty Shades franchise) and Anne Enright’s The Green Road also racking up sales.

Big sellers

Nielsen figures indicate that book sales continued to rise in 2016, with Lean in 15 by fitness expert Joe Wicks and A Pocket History of the 1916 Rising by Tony Potter among the big sellers in the period covered by the Waterstones accounts.

Waterstones Booksellers Ireland employed an average of 77 people in the year to the end of April, the accounts show.

Since 2011 the book retailer, which has its headquarters in London, has been owned by the Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut. The 270-store chain has now returned to profit for the first time since Mr Mamut bought the company from HMV for £53 million.

Waterstones is run by managing director James Daunt, the owner of London mini-chain Daunt Books. Mr Daunt this week defended the company’s decision to open three unbranded book shops in the UK towns of Southwold, Rye and Harpenden.

The move has been interpreted as an attempt by Waterstones to “disguise” some outlets in the chain as independently owned bookshops, which are favoured by some shoppers. Mr Daunt said the idea was for each store to have its own identity and denied that any subterfuge was intended.