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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