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With stores closed during lockdown, Waterstones furloughed 95% of its staff. It reopened shops in England in June with safety measures in place. Managing director James Daunt, 56, leads the book retailer, which began as a single store in 1982. In 2018 it was bought by investment management firm Elliott Advisors and shortly thereafter acquired rival chain Foyles, with sales reaching £423.6m the following year. Its portfolio of more than 290 shops includes branches in Belgium, the Netherlands and the Channel Islands.

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Company details
Year2020
Rank37
CompanyWaterstones
ActivityBook retailer
LocationCentral London
Sales £m423.6*
Operating profit £m32.4*
Main shareholdersElliott Advisors (>50%), Lynwood Investments & management (<50%)
Staff3,458
Founded1982
Websitewww.waterstones.com

If applicable:

* supplied by company   † annualised figure   ‡  profit = ebitda