Waterstones to close 20 branches across UK

Business digest: High Street bookstore chains on the edge of crisis in the UK and US

LAST UPDATED AT 15:53 ON Wed 2 Feb 2011

Eleven branches of Waterstones will close across the UK on February 6, it was announced yesterday, and nine more are due to close this year. The high street chain, which is part of the HMV group, has recently faced stiff competition from low-cost retailers including Amazon and Tesco - although the closures are also partly due to the disappointing performance of other HMV brands over the Christmas period.

The closures are generally planned for towns in which there is currently more than one branch of the bookstore, although Dublin, Luton and Tiverton will all be left without a Waterstones presence.

A spokesman for the company has warned that "there will be redundancies" although he assured staff that as many people as possible would be redeployed in other branches.

The news comes as US bookstore chain Borders dipped by 36 per cent on the New York stock exchange, causing Bloomberg to speculate that the comopany may file for bankruptcy next week.  

Read a full report at the Guardian.

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