Waterstone’s, a large chain of bookshops in the UK, is accused of being underhand by opening a number of bookshops without their normal branding. The shops are smaller than their regular stores and are decorated to look like small independent bookshops. So far, they’ve opened three; Rye, Harpenden and Southwold. James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones, denied the company was using subterfuge to attract customers.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he said: “The vast majority have welcomed them greatly. They are very small shops in towns that had independents and very much wish they still had independents but don’t. We can’t open up great big Waterstones here but we can open up small ones. We are coming into quite sensitive high streets with predominantly independent retailers on them and we wish to behave as they do.”
The owner of a book, card and gift shop in Southwold told the Mail on Sunday: “To call themselves Southwold Books is a bit naughty. Locals know what the shop is, but visitors don’t.”
Judge for yourself.