WH Smith benefits from surge in sales at travel division
WH Smith has said it made a good start to its financial year following a strong performance in its travel division.
In the 20 weeks to 20 January, group revenue increased by 8% compared to the prior year.
Its travel division was its best-performing business with sales up 13% year-on-year, or 16% on a constant currency basis. Sales in the UK rose by 15% while sales in north America and the rest of the world climbed by 14% and 24% respectively at constant currency.
The retailer said it is continuing to see improving passenger numbers across UK air and a strong performance in its stores in hospitals and rail stations. It has recently opened its largest store in UK travel at Birmingham airport.
WH Smith’s high street business fared less well with total revenue down 4% and like-for-like sales down 3%. However, like-for-like sales edged up 1% in December as the retailer benefited from good stock availability.
Carl Cowling, WH Smith group chief executive, said: “I am pleased with the start to the financial year. Our travel business is growing strongly across all our divisions and we have seen a notably strong performance in the UK, our largest division, with total revenue up 15% and like-for-like revenue up 14%.”
“The group is trading well and is in its strongest ever position as a global travel retailer. We are confident of another year of significant growth in 2024.”