Waterstones boss warns store closures loom without further rates relief

Daunt, James

Waterstones boss James Daunt has warned that without either an extension to the business rates holiday or other reforms before April, he could be forced to close stores.

The high street book specialist, which operates 283 stores in the UK and Europe, was hit hard by the reimposition of tier-four coronavirus restrictions across London and much of the Southeast in the lead-up to Christmas.

Waterstones, like many other retailers, has been in discussion with its landlords over rent holidays since the start of the pandemic. Chief executive James Daunt said that in the main “the vast majority of our landlords have been entirely responsive and sensible”.

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