[Waterstones] staff were told last night (20th May) in an email communication from Waterstones managing director James Daunt that those holding the positions of branch manager, assistant manager, general manager and deputy manager will enter into a consultation before the company restructures and those roles are abolished. A new “bookshop manager” role will be created instead to encompass those positions, which will “call on different skills”, he said.
It is not clear how many members of staff will leave the company. Existing managers will be able to apply for the new role and there may be multiple bookshop managers at some stores.
“I would not be entering into this unless I thought it necessary, and unless I was sure that we will emerge a better, stronger bookseller for having done it . . . I am acutely aware that we do this at the very moment that we are doing well. Sales are robust, costs and operational process greatly improved and the net performance of Waterstones has made a step-change for the better. The substantial part of this improvement is down to your individual and collective effort… …The context, however, is the current unforgiving bookselling environment. We may be running better bookshops, and running these in a very different manner to before, but we have yet to recognise this in our management structure. If we are to secure the future of Waterstones, we must take the difficult step to do so.”