WH Smith boosted by strong performance in travel business
Book and stationery retailer WH Smith has reported that like-for-like sales edged up 1% in the 21 weeks to 21 January. Total sales rose by 2%.
The company’s travel business, which includes stores at airports and railway stations, increased its like-for-like sales by 5% with growth across all key channels.
Its high street stores fared less well with like-for-like sales down 3%. Good sales of spoof humour books were offset by the annualisation of last year’s strong trade in ‘colour therapy’ titles.
Stephen Clarke, WH Smith group chief executive, said: “In travel, we have delivered good sales growth across all our key channels in the period. This was driven by ongoing investment in the business and continued growth in passenger numbers – particularly in our airport stores over the Christmas holiday period. In High Street, we saw another good performance with sales in line with expectations driven by our new seasonal stationery ranges and spoof humour books.”
The company said its store opening programme is on track both in the UK and overseas. During the period, it opened an additional 32 Post Offices in its high street stores, taking the total to 145. In line with plan, up to a further 23 Post Offices are due to open during the rest of the year.
As a result of the performance in its travel business, WH Smith now expects group profit growth for the full year to be “slightly ahead of plan”.
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