Waterstones starts consultations over jobs with staff

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The Independent Online

Hundreds of jobs could go at Waterstones after the retailer launched a consultation with 560 managers as it seeks to slash costs and "secure the future" of the UK's last nationwide book chain.

The 284-store retailer, which employs 4,000 staff in stores and head office, partly blamed "unforgiving" trading conditions for the consultation but said the restructuring would help put more emphasis on "traditional shop-floor bookselling".

The Russia billionaire Alexander Mamut acquired Waterstones for £53m from HMV Group in 2011 and installed James Daunt, the man behind London's six-store Daunt Books, to run the chain. The consultation involves 560 managers, including store, assistant and general managers, and will start on 3 June. The process is due to last for a minimum of 45 days and it is unclear how many staff will lose their jobs.

Mr Daunt, the managing director of Waterstones, said: "These changes are not primarily about saving costs. We have restructured the business and moved to a cluster system, which no longer requires a mainly administrative management in our shops."