Waterstone’s could be left relying on third-party wholesalers to ensure that customer orders are fulfilled this Christmas following problems at the bookseller’s distribution centre.

Customers are facing delayed orders after problems in its distribution centre in Burton-on-Trent, according to the Financial Times.

Waterstone’s managing director Gerry Johnson denied any backlog at the distribution centre and added that it is able to handle up to 1.5 million shipments a week.

Waterstone’s normally uses third-party wholesalers to deliver goods when it does not have enough stock and Johnson confirmed that it is using third-party wholesaler Gardners more than usual. Staff at Gardners have put this down to delays to orders going through Waterstone’s distribution centre.  

Analysts said the problems were unlikely to undermine profits at Waterstone’s, which is owned by HMV Group, despite the increased costs of using third-party wholesalers rather than buying direct from publishers.

However, Numis Securities retail analyst Andrew Wade warned that if Waterstone’s did not have its distribution issues under control by Christmas there could be an impact on profitability.