WH Smith benefits from strong performance in travel business
WH Smith grew its revenue by 7% in the 20 weeks to 18 January, but like-for-like revenue fell by 1% in the period.
The retailer’s travel business, which includes stores in railway stations and airports, saw its like-for-like revenue increase by 3% after sales grew across all of its channels. Total revenue climbed by 19%.
WH Smith expects to open around 15 to 20 new travel shops this year, including around eight units in hospitals. Following its successful partnership with Well Pharmacy, it will also launch a new flagship pharmacy format at Heathrow Terminal 2.
During the period, WH Smith completed the acquisition of MRG ahead of plan which has almost doubled the size of its international travel business and accelerated growth in the US.
Total revenue and like-for-like sales were both down 5% in the retailer’s high street stores, although WH Smith said an active management of space, gross margin growth and good cost control is continuing to help the business deliver profit.
Carl Cowling, WH Smith group chief executive, said: “We are pleased with the progress the group has made in the first 20 weeks, with total revenue up 7%.
“Looking ahead, we are on track for the current year and as we continue to grow our share of the global travel retail market, the group is well positioned for the years ahead.”
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