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Daunt added that the chain had been quietly sticking to the basics of bookselling, "making our existing bookshops nicer and now opening new ones at an increasing clip .
Being privately owned, we are very focused, on the one hand, on delivering outcomes for our customers and, on the other hand, on having a sustainable long-term business," Daunt says.
Mr Daunt said: "At Waterstones, we are committed to improving our bookshops quite radically to offer the best possible book-buying experience.
We have been speaking to members and non-members and they have been telling us that they need us more now than at any time," said Ms Daunt, who has enjoyed a high-profile career in the legal sector with firms such as Browne Jacobson, Irwin Mitchell and Eversheds and latterly as a consultant at Hammonds.
Her fellow judges were literary editor of The Observer William Skidelsky and the founder of Daunt Books, James Daunt.
WHEN shy William Daunt finally plucked up the courage to ask colleague Patricia for a dance he couldn't have imagined they would still be in step 60 years down the line.
Law firm Browne Jacobson has attracted real estate expert Mary Daunt to head up its property department in Birmingham.
Real estate partner at law firm Eversheds in the Midlands, Mary Daunt (left) is to take a break from her legal duties when she treks to the highest mountain in the world - Mount Everest.
David Slade (Joker); Mary Daunt (Head of Real Estate, Eversheds Midlands offices); Vaq Farooq (Batman); Brian Hession (Robin)
Back) Sara May, Christine Levine, Caris Arthur, Marlyn Stokes, Sue Hele, Pat Bullivant, Zoe Lewis (front) Andrea Howl, Virginia Bottomley, Diane Benussi, Mary Daunt, Jane Lodge, Caroline Coates, Zoe Lewis