WH Smith posts jump in sales and profit
WH Smith has reported healthy first half growth following a particularly strong performance by its travel business.
In the six months to 28 February, revenue increased by 41% to £859 million while pre-tax profit climbed to £45 million from £18 million in the same period in the prior year.
The company’s travel business, which includes stores at airports and rail stations, grew its revenue by 75% to £593 million as it benefited from a continued recovery in passenger numbers and the opening of new stores around the world. The business now has over 120 stores won and due to open, with over 50 scheduled to launch in its second half.
Meanwhile sales in high street stores edged down 1% to £266 million. The business benefited from a good performance across its books category, supported by Prince Harry’s autobiography ‘Spare’.
Carl Cowling, group chief executive of WH Smith, said: “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. We expect travel to represent over 70% of group revenue and around 85% of Group profit from trading operations by the end of this financial year.
“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.”
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