Founded as a single store in 1982, this high street bookseller now has 283 shops across the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium and employs 3,000 staff. Under chief executive James Daunt, 54, the London firm has combined book shopping with author readings and onsite cafes to turn £12m losses in 2013 to a £25m profit last year. In April, US investment firm Elliott Advisors bought a majority stake for an undisclosed sum from Lynwood Investments, and in September, the chain announced it would buy rival bookseller Foyles.

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Company details
Year2018
Rank45
CompanyWaterstones
ActivityBook retailer
LocationCentral London
Sales £m388
Operating profit £m24.5
Main shareholders

Elliott Advisors (>50%), Lynwood Investments & management (<50%)

Staff3,195
Founded1982
Websitewww.waterstones.com

If applicable:

* supplied by Company   † annualised figure   ‡  profit = ebitda