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Internal News - 29 April 2008

Changes to Waterstones and other campus retail outlets

The University's senior management has recently made a number of space allocation decisions in order to:

The Careers Office will be relocated so that a larger, extended café and social space can be created in the frontage of the new 4W building.

Given that the space occupied by Waterstones was judged to be the only practical alternative location, they have been asked to vacate on 9 May in order that the space can be completely refurbished to provide more user-friendly accommodation for the Careers Office.

The viability of the traditional campus bookshop has been under review not only by the University but also retailers - in the context of an enormous expansion of online ordering and delivery services and the highly seasonal nature of the campus trade.

As a result, the University will be running a tendering exercise to invite retailers, including Waterstones, to provide a more flexible model to meet future needs and preferences. This new model is likely to combine a temporary bookshop during peak periods at the start of each semester, with an online ordering and delivery service throughout the year (possibly located in the Library and Learning Centre), and a direct sales service to academic departments.

Availability of discounts, convenience of use and speed of delivery will be the most important criteria in the tendering exercise for this provision.

In order to ensure that the University can maximise utilisation of the western end of the Parade, Endsleigh Insurance and the hairdresser have been asked to vacate the space they occupy. This gives the physical capacity in a very constrained area to provide the kind of new and/or expanded retail outlets most likely to be in demand from students and staff in the future.

The lower priority assigned to campus provision of insurance and hairdressing was decided in light of the increasing trend for insurance to be bought online and the availability of hairdressers and barbers throughout the city.

The NatWest and Barclays branches have not been asked to vacate their existing accommodation and are not affected by the current space allocation decisions. Provision of banking services for students and staff remains a priority for the University.