Ottakar's unveils growth plans

Bookseller Ottakar's plans to increase store numbers to 300 from 117 over the next 10 years.

Having bought 24 Hammicks shops earlier this year, Ottakar's will now focus on organic growth, said finance director Edward Knighton.

Last week, the bookseller posted interim sales up 37 per cent to£57.5 million. The pre-tax loss increased to£2.9 million from£2.3 million in the same period last year.

Knighton said that Ottakar's made a first-half loss because of the seasonality of its business, and analysts expect a£6.5 million profit in the second half. Moving the East Kilbride store also incurred extra expense, Knighton noted.

The latest Harry Potter offering and the BBC's Big Read promotion helped to boost sales. 'Harry Potter was useful, but it wasn't just about the book,' Knighton said. 'It drove footfall and will remind people about the Ottakar's brand when Christmas comes.'

Ottakar's aims to increase margins at Hammicks by bringing their supply chain and product offer into line with the rest of the business.