Talks ongoing as city’s main book store makes way

Waterstone's, The Ridings, Wakefield
Waterstone's, The Ridings, Wakefield

Talks are underway to secure the future of the city’s only major book retailer after Waterstones confirmed its current store will close.

Waterstones and newsagent WH Smith will both vacate their units in the Ridings Shopping Centre later this year to make way for an expansion by clothing retailer Primark.

Leases on the two units are up for renewal in September, and Ridings bosses have been in talks with both retailers for months to offer alternative space.

Ridings Centre manager Barbara Winston said: “We have been in talks with them for quite some time.

“We knew that both these leases were up for renewal and we served notice saying we needed the premises and offered them alternative premises. It is really important that they stay in Wakefield.”

Waterstones said in a statement: “While we have no announcement to make at present, we are committed to continuing to serve the people of Wakefield with the best range of books in the city, and are actively seeking a new site.”

WH Smith said is was unable to comment on speculation surrounding its store.

In a deal announced last week, Primark will boost the size of its store to 28,500 sq ft, a 40 per cent increase in its retail space.

A Primark spokesperson said: “Primark is delighted to be in a position to extend its store in the Ridings Shopping Centre. This extension will enable us to offer customers more space, more style and more savings for all the family.”

Ridings bosses said they were expecting new jobs and an increase in the number of shoppers visiting the centre.

And Ms Winston said the centre was in discussions with a major non-clothing retailer about moving in to the centre.

Another major retailer already based at the Ridings was also in discussions about an expansion, Ms Winston said.

She added: “I am confident both will happen.”