January 20, 2016
London indies look to the East
by Zeljka Marosevic
Good news for everyone outside of London: two of the best London indie chains, Daunt Books and Foyles, have announced new shop openings outside of the capital.
According to Lisa Campbell at The Bookseller, Foyles will open a 4,300 square-foot store in Chelmsford, Essex, which will become the independent chain’s third shop outside of London, and its first in the East of England. Foyles will join other high-end retailers such as John Lewis, Fat Face and Monsoon in the new Bond Street retail space.
Meanwhile, down the road in Saffron Walden, Essex, Daunt Books will open its first ever shop outside of London. As The Bookseller reports, the shop will operate under the name of Hart’s Books, the town’s independent bookshop that closed in 2007. Eager to see the shop reopen, owners Martin and Andrew Turnbull have allowed the name to be used by Daunt Books. The brothers told The Bookseller:
I am delighted we have been able to help in the re-establishment of an independent bookseller in the heart of Saffron Walden. We were very sad with the closure of our bookshop in 2007, so it is very exciting to be able to witness the rebirth of a genuine bookshop.
Last year, when Paul Currie became the new CEO of Foyles, we speculated that Currie would have his sights on expanding the chain in the UK. Currie has extensive experience in building high-end brands into national success stories, and it seems this announcement is continuing that project. As for Daunt Books, owner James Daunt has a knack for picking the nicest high streets in the country, and the ones that will spend the most money on books.
Books and bookshops, it seems, are good business again. And these are two empires we’re eager to see expand across the kingdom.
Zeljka Marosevic is the former managing director of Melville House UK.