Hughes: WH Smith In Terminal Two Is A Shame

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today With Pat Kenny radio program Derek Hughes of Hughes & Hughes has condemned the decision to allow WH Smith enter the market in Dublin Airport by awarding them the contract for Terminal Two saying: ‘You also have WH Smith in T2 (Terminal Two) which I think is a shame. T2 should represent the best of Irish retail, you may as well be in Manchester or Birmingham. All best Irish retailers should be represented and it would have been lovely to have Hughes & Hughes there.’

In a wide-ranging and open interview Hughes gave an explanation of the collapse of Hughes & Hughes in February 2010. According to the retailer, the business failed because of a huge drop in business principally at Dublin airport where passenger numbers dropped from 24 million to 18 million. Hughes said that the company had ‘a €12 million drop in turnover and we had actually an increase in our rents and we had rates going up significantly also … it didn’t add up’

Hughes has returned to bookselling with Sivota Ltd which now trades under the Hughes & Hughes brand and has now opened a seventh 6,000 sq foot store in the Jervis Street Centre which offers books, stationery, cards and toys and it sited in the former Waterstone’s store.

Speaking about the financial health of the company he said, ‘This year we’ll certainly get to break even. Within the retail business, and more especially the bookselling business, Christmas is absolutely critical to us.”

Asked about the impact of ebooks Hughes said that ‘the whole industry is hit by the ereaders, but the physical book itself is so important’ and that ereading had ‘captured about 20% of the market ..  it is a competitive threat.’ Hughes said, ‘we do have a strong digital strategy going forward … we will be a clicks and mortar retailer in 2012.’