Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Waterstone's is shaking up its buying team as it moves from local to central buying

Waterstone's is shaking up its buying team, seeking people for its new regional commercial and buying posts as it begins to move from local to central buying.

Current Waterstone's staff have been asked to apply for the posts, which include divisional and regional commercial managers roles, as well as jobs in the campaign and range teams. For new titles, the central buying will begin from September, but it is thought for core and local stock the central buying process will take longer.

Publishers have been urged to help Waterstone's sell books "more intelligently" by providing the company with more information on their titles, including sending jackets and AIs to staff as soon as possible, particularly for non-fiction and children's books.

The chain bookseller has told indie publishers: "Keep talking to us—tell us when we're missing opportunities, and continue to talk to our stores about relevant books." It is unclear how Daunt's new plans will affect the jobs of publisher reps, as it is thought that in general local stores are no longer allowed to place orders for new titles.

All the new roles are on a six-month secondment basis based in Brentford, but it is thought Daunt wants to move the head office to Waterstone's flagship Piccadilly store as early as possible, with its current Brentford head office lease understood to run out in six months' time.

A key priority of Daunt's first few months in charge of the bookseller is understood to be lowering the level of returns.

Daunt previously told staff the chain's infrastructure, from shops to systems, needed a "complete overhaul". As part of this, he moved to reintroduce central buying for new books and replenishment, but added that shops would be able to order the books they wanted, when they wanted. He said: "You will have the autonomy to curate your shops, to be entreprenurial, to exploit the physical individuality of your shops." To help this, he is thought to be dispensing with shop planograms, which dictate how the layout of each store should look.

Staff were also told they were getting a 3% pay rise recently, which will come into effect in the near future.

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