Bookseller Waterstone's has identified significant scope for expansion, following a period of more than three years when no new stores opened.
Alan Giles, group chief executive of Waterstone's parent HMV, said 'ultimately' there was potential to open at least another 50 shops. Insiders at Waterstone's think the long-term potential is for closer to 100 more stores.
Giles said approximately 160 of the 194 existing stores are on high streets and the remainder are on university campuses. The last opening was the flagship Piccadilly store in 1999.
Last week, it revealed the first of its new stores would be in the Manchester Trafford centre.
Giles would not be drawn on a time scale and said only 'a handful' would open this year.