Waterstones writes new chapter with Lichfield shop launch

Commercial | 25.05.2022

A leading book retailer is to open a new chapter with the launch its first shop in Lichfield City Centre.

Waterstones has agreed to let a 3,146 sq ft retail unit at Market Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire. The unit was vacated by women’s fashion store Dorothy Perkins in early 2021.

Acting on behalf of a private landlord, Burley Browne has agreed a new lease with Waterstones on the shop, which is situated in a high-profile location overlooking the city’s market square. Waterstones was established in 1982 by Tim Waterstone. It has since grown to become an icon of the British cultural landscape, employing over 3,000 booksellers across more than 280 bookshops. As the last surviving national bookshop chain, led by managing director James Daunt, it has fought off the perceived threat of e-readers and online competition to begin a programme of active expansion.

Luke Taylor, Waterstones’ retail director, said: “We are delighted to be opening a Waterstones bookshop in Lichfield. We have long hoped to open a shop in this historic and popular city and have now found a great location through Burley Browne. Our bookselling team can’t wait to welcome Lichfield’s readers into their beautiful new shop and to recommend all the brilliant books waiting to be discovered."

Burley Browne director David Hemming who undertook the negotiations with Waterstones said there had been a huge amount of interest in the property. “Not surprisingly, we had several other good quality companies interested, including coffee shops, and restaurant operators. However, because it is such an important unit in the city centre, our client wanted to make sure we had the right sort of occupant that suited the location.”

He added: “Waterstones ticked all the boxes and fits in really well with Lichfield’s strong mix of independent shops and national chains. The restaurant and leisure market is also strong. It was that variety that Waterstones really liked.

“They can tap into a good age range of local population and there are a lot of tourists that also visit the city. It has fared very well in the past couple of years despite all the challenges, largely because it offers such a wonderful variety. The outlook in Lichfield is really positive. We have certainly noticed coming out of lockdown that the level of interest in Lichfield from the national operators has increased.”