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Waterstones acquires iconic London bookstore, Foyles

Waterstones has acquired the iconic London bookstore, Foyles, from the Foyle family for an undisclosed sum. Alongside Foyles’ flagship Charing Cross Road site, Waterstones has purchased three other London shops n the Royal Festival Hall, Waterloo and Westfileld Stratford, along with shops in Bristol, Birmingham and Chelmsford.

The MD of Waterstones, James Daunt, said: “We are honoured to be entrusted with the Foyles business, and greatly look forward to joining forces with the Foyles bookselling team.  Together, we will be stronger and better positioned to protect and champion the pleasures of real bookshops in the face of Amazon’s siren call ».

Christopher Foyle said: “My family and I are delighted that Foyles is entering a new chapter, one which secures the brand’s future and protects its personality. I look forward to witnessing the exciting times ahead for the company founded by my Grandfather and his brother 115 years ago.”

The current chief executive of Foyles, Paul Currie, and finance director, John Browne ,will leave the business once the sale is completed by the end of this year.

A statement from Foyles said that Christopher Foyle and the other shareholders had “made significant investments in rebuilding and developing the business”, but had made the decision to sell. “We have been determined to ensure that the buyer would both preserve and invest in the business. James Daunt, the managing director of Waterstones, has assured us of his desire to maintain and celebrate the Foyles name and our distinct bookselling identity. Whilst the decision to sell has been a hard one, we are confident that Waterstones will nurture and protect Foyles for the good of the business, its staff and its customers.”

Foyles made sales of £26.6m in 2017 against a loss of £89,000. Waterstones recorded sales of £388m in the period to April 2017, with a profit of £18m.