London & South East Premier Retail


Written by Roma Publications

Waterstones Tottenham Court Road


©Mike Massaro

The UK’s biggest bookseller, Waterstones, has recently opened a new 7,000 square foot store on Tottenham Court Road, London.

The three storey building is at the southern side of Tottenham Court Road and is part of a redevelopment on that side of the street.

Tom Hutchinson, Waterstones Head of Store Development said: “All new shops are very important for Waterstones. In every shop we curate the commercial offer appropriate to its locality, we also go to great efforts to ensure we design and build shops to make best use of any attributes of the building itself and help give each shop as much character as possible. Tottenham Court Road is obviously a high profile location and trades over three floors. Importantly it incorporates many new elements such as a café, bar and pop-up cinema to offer a unique experience to its local customers.”

The store, which opened on 7 December 2015, is regarded as the largest Waterstones branch to be opened in the last decade and stocks 50,000 different titles and 120,000 units. Located just a two minute walk from the busy Tottenham Court Road station, the shop is described as “more than just a place to browse, it’s a place to socialise.”

Tom added: “Waterstones are reinventing the modern bookshop. We are creating bespoke shop environments and intelligently curated book ranges within which booklovers of all ages spend time browsing, drinking coffee and sampling locally sourced cakes and sandwiches. Tottenham Court Road represents a significant step forward in our on-going evolution and Waterstones has drawn on talent throughout the business to create this cutting edge bookshop.”

The ground floor houses the tills and mainstream books including front-of-store-fiction, children’s books and a large non-book section, including DVDs and vinyl. The mezzanine floor houses a café and holds the company’s largest fiction selection outside of the company’s flagship store, Waterstones Piccadilly, and the basement houses travel books, non-fiction, a bar, pop-up cinema and event space for around 200 people.

Tristan Batch, Managing Director of B Batch Group, the main contractors of the project said: “A lot of the original features of the build were retained to give a contemporary industrial feel. On top of this, the store incorporates a café and a bar, so it is a different concept for Waterstones. Tottenham Court Road is not your standard bookshop, it’s special and is definitely a place you would want to spend your time browsing and buying books in.’’


©Mike Massaro

Work undertaken by the B Batch Group to complete the project began in October 2015 and included installing and cutting out floors for the lift and staircase, fitting out the basement, ground floor and mezzanine floor retail areas, the café, all of the electrical installations, decoration, new walls, sprinklers and air conditioning, decoration and installing the bookcases, counters, tables and café equipment.

Tristan added: “The project was structurally challenging. There was a lower level car park in the basement of the building, so the lift was suspended to allow access for installation. ’’

In terms of the design of the store, the new Waterstones is described as a raw concrete and plywood signage environment. Lighting is provided by spotlights and the wooden perimeter frame in the stairwell acts as a display vehicle for themed book promotions. The ground level contains crisp wooden floors giving way to exposed concrete in the basement. Bookshelves are then nestled amongst a brutalist interior giving those stepping foot inside plenty of space to read, work or relax with friends.

“Working with Waterstones is very important to us,” said Tristan, “and this project has been very well received.”

Founded by Tim Waterstone, Waterstones currently operates 276 stores and employs around 3,000 booksellers in the UK and Europe. The store on Tottenham Court Road will be staffed by 15 booksellers and the first book sold at the new store was ‘The Girl on the Train’ by Paula Hawkins.

Tom commented: “Feedback has been very positive. Along with one of the largest fiction sections within Waterstones, the basement bar and contemporary design have earned the shop a reputation as a fantastic meeting place. The exposed concrete basement columns have also attracted comments from admirers of brutalist architecture.”


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