Waterstone's to expand in US

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The Independent Online
WH SMITH, the retail group, is to expand its Waterstone's bookshop chain in the US. It has appointed Tim Waterstone, the founder and departing Waterstone's chief executive, as adviser there.

The first US Waterstone's, a 22,000 sq ft megastore, opened in Boston last October. A second is due to open in Chicago this autumn. Smith is understood to be searching for a third site in Philadelphia.

According to Mr Waterstone: 'There will be more in the new year which we'll be announcing shortly. We've had a, probably misleadingly, good start in Boston, from which we're extrapolating nothing.'

Mr Waterstone will leave as chief executive in February next year, remaining on the Waterstone's board until May 1994. From March he will be based in the US as an adviser for one year.

The move takes Mr Waterstone full circle. In 1981 he was sacked as head of Smith's US operations. He borrowed pounds 20,000 to set up a bookshop in the Old Brompton Road in west London. That venture grew into the highly successful Waterstone's chain, which Smith then bought in 1989, subsuming into it its Sherratt & Hughes chain.

'Of course there are ironies,' said Mr Waterstone. 'But life is full of ironies.'

He said he had not decided what to do after he severs links with Waterstone's in 1994, when he will be 54.

He will sell his remaining shares in Waterstone's to Smith in the autumn of next year under the terms of the original sale agreement of 1989.

Mr Waterstone's successor is Alan Giles, who is director of operations and development at Do It All, Smith's do-it-yourself shops joint venture with Boots.

Mr Giles, who was earlier in charge of the books and news division of Smith's core chain, will join Waterstone's next month and take the reins in February 1993.