Waterstones backtracks over Stockbridge plans

The site of the proposed store
The site of the proposed store
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Waterstones has reportedly backtracked on plans to open an unbranded store in Edinburgh.

The bookseller this week announced plans to open a new shop as part of plans to redevelop the Edinburgh Academical Sports Ground.

However, the chain came under fire after it announced it would brand the shop in Comely Bank Road as Stockbridge Books, provoking accusations that it was “masquerading as an independent bookshop”.

READ MORE: ‘Copycat’ Waterstones store threatens Stockbridge indies

Now, the chain’s managing director James Daunt has reportedly conceded the decision to name the shop Stockbridge Books was a mistake. The shop will still go ahead but it will clearly be branded as Waterstones, Mr Daunt told The Guardian.

Golden Hare Books, which has been in Stockbridge for four years, had accused Waterstones of breaking a pledge not to site unbranded stores in areas that are already home to independents after plans emerged for the opening next spring.

Earlier this week Julie Danskin, manager of Golden Hare Books in St Stephen Street, complained that Mr Daunt had promised last year that “their copycat indies would only open in areas with no independent bookshops”.

But she added “this is exactly what is happening - and it’s happening in our neighbourhood”.

Ms Danskin said: “This is a change and quite an aggressive change in direction.”

The Raeburn Place Foundation is behind the plans for a new stadium, shops, cafe bar, function suites and a museum at the Edinburgh Academical Sports Ground.

A Marks & Spencer food shop, taking up three of the units, was unveiled as the anchor store for the development in December 2016.

The foundation said it was in negotiations about the lease of other units and work on the project should begin at the end of June or the beginning of July, with completion due next summer.

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