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WH Smith ‘very well positioned’ as it eyes expansion thanks to surging sales

WH Smith

WH Smith has unveiled plans to open over 120 new shops thanks to a stellar first half results.

In the six months ended 28 February 2023, the stationary company reported a pre-tax profit of £45 million compared with £14 million in the same period last year.

Revenues for the company grew by 41% to £859 million in the period, compared with £608 million last year.

According to the retailer, its travel division counted for over 70% of group sales and around 85% of headline group profit, as a result, it reported the division made £47 million in the period, compared with £24 million on its high street.

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The travel division also saw a 19% increase in revenues, ahead of 2019 levels despite passenger numbers being “considerably lower”.

Commenting on the figures, CEO Carl Cowling said WH Smith’s travel division has been driven by its “category expansion, focus on average transaction value, the success of InMotion and travel essentials one-stop-shop format.”

On the back of this, the company unveiled plans to focus its global expansion towards airports and train shop stations, instead of its traditional high street stores.

Across North America, Rest of the World (RoW) and the UK, WH Smith revealed it has won 60 stores so far this financial year. It also now has over 120 stores won and due to open.

Around 50 of these stores are scheduled to open in the second half, the company revealed.

“I am increasingly excited by the opportunity in our Rest of the World division. Our strategy of establishing a presence in multiple countries as a base for significant growth is demonstrated well by the growth in our store estates in Spain, Germany and Australia,” Cowling said.

Commenting on the company’s results, Cowling added: “We have seen a strong performance in the first half of the year further strengthening our confidence in the prospects of our global travel business.

“This set of results would not be possible without the fantastic efforts of our entire team and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them.

“Looking ahead, we are very well positioned to capitalise on the substantial growth drivers across our markets and we expect to make further good progress in the years ahead. Current trading is strong and we are ahead of expectations for the full year.”

Image credit: Shutterstock

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