The number of independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland has grown for the second consecutive year, as booksellers report strong festive trading figures.
The Booksellers Association (BA) announced the number of independent stores in its membership grew to 883 in 2018, up from 868 in the previous year. The past two years of growth follow 20 years of membership decline for its independent retailers. It also revealed that 73 per cent of booksellers reported higher Christmas sales year-on-year, while 63.5 per cent said that their footfall over the festive season had risen.
However, BA managing director Meryl Halls called on the government to ensure the future of the high street.
She said: “It is extremely encouraging to see independent bookshops succeeding in 2018, demonstrating the creativity and entrepreneurship of booksellers.
“Retailers generally are facing an increasingly challenging landscape across the UK and Ireland, and we all need the retail landscape to be strong. Bookshops continue to experience unequal business rates, and struggle alongside wider retail with unfair competition from online retailers, as well as post-Brexit uncertainty.
“In light of this, we ask the government to take the steps needed to protect the future of bookshops and their high streets.”