"served with a range of double speak and obfuscation"

Liverpool Life The Waterstones in Liverpool recently dropped magazines in favour of a larger Paperchase franchise. With WH Smiths having moved out of its huge Church Street store into a tiny shop in Liverpool One beneath a post office which is smaller than some railway station stores, the city centre proper has been left without a newsagent carrying periodicals beyond the very mainstream.

I don't think they even have The Stage, Scott.

Ironically, the Smiths at Lime Street Station has a wider selection (and definitely do have The Stage), but if you're at the other end of town, that's quite a trek. David at SevenStreets decided to speak to some PR people from both companies to try and get some answers. Sadly he was served with a range of double speak and obfuscation:
"Cut to phone call to Fiona Allen, Press Officer at Waterstones.

“What’s happened? You’ve got rid of the magazines and periodicals in Liverpool ONE to make way for fancy wrapping paper,” we tell her.

“No,” she says, “this has nothing to do with Paperchase expanding. We think it’s important that every store offers a balanced selection, and one that our customers tell us they want. We’re just reflecting that.”

“But all wrapping paper, and no magazines? That’s not balanced,” we say.

“Like any good retailer, we have to take a holistic approach. We’re all about serving the customer. In some stores, we’re increasing the magazines we sell,” Allen says.

“But have you asked Liverpool customers?” we say, “Can we get a quote from the manager at the store?”

“No,” Fiona says. On both counts. They’ve not asked the customers. And all press enquiries must go through her. “But, I must repeat – this has nothing to do with us needing extra space for Paperchase.”
The comments thread underneath then becomes quite interesting because a former employee drops in to explain some of the real reasons, which you can read here.

Keeping in mind that this Waterstones is oddly enough, larger than the WH Smith which closed, and that we have two in the city centre, it actually seems to be a shelf design issue. Plus, if sales were flagging, it's because they weren't offering anything unusual or special and what they did have was inconsistent. They carried Classic FM Magazine and Gramaphone but not BBC Music. Madness.


  1. Have they stopped selling "Adult" mags ?

  2. Shelves full. Not that I've looked of course.