Waterstones is to put 560 of its managers into consultation as managing director James Daunt looks to “secure the future” of the retailer against an “unforgiving bookselling environment”.

The books retailer will put 560 branch managers, assistant managers, general managers and deputy managers into consultation as part of a restructure, The Bookseller reported.

Waterstones employs about 4,000 people across stores and head office.

It is not yet known how many staff will leave the retailer but existing managers will be able to apply for a new ‘bookshop manager’ position which will encompass the axed roles. Waterstones said there may be more than one ‘bookshop manager’ per store.

Daunt said that, despite the fact the retailer is “doing well”, it was essential to restructure for future growth.

He said in an email: “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.”

He added: “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.”

The move follows a restructure of its regional management teams in February. The retailer has also put its online offer under a “fundamental review”.