Waterstones’ losses widen

Kasmira Jefford
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BOOKSELLER Waterstones revealed yesterday that a “disappointing sales performance” had dragged the company to a £40m loss last year, sparking fears for the future of the high street chain.

HMV sold the retailer for £53m last year to Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut who put James Daunt, the founder of the eponymous books chain, in charge of turning the business around.

The group said sales fell 14 per cent to £410.4m in the year to the end of April as a result of the change in ownership together with fierce online competition and tough high street conditions.

Losses widened from £20.6m in 2011 to £37.3m last year. The group now has 286 stores after closing six.