December 30, 1905

Watford Observer: On this day in south west Hertfordshire On this day in south west Hertfordshire

A new shop has recently been opened in Watford and concurrently in some 140 other towns in Wales and the western half of England.

It is probable that never before, in the history of commerce, have such a number of new premises been acquired and opened in one firm’s interest within two months, for it is in this phenomenally short space of time that all the work has been done.

When the firm of W.H.Smith and Son were unable to agree with the directors of the London and North-Western and Great Western Railways as to the terms for a renewal of their contracts on those lines, they were faced with a very serious and difficult problem.

They had to consider whether they were willing to lose a large slice of the business which they had been building for over 50 years.

The retention of the bookstalls upon the new terms and the old principles was, in the firm’s opinion, impossible, if the business was to be run at a profit. They determined, therefore, to strike out boldly in a new direction.

[From the Watford Observer of December 30, 1905]

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