WH Smith posts strong sales and profit growth
WH Smith has posted a 28% increase in full year revenue to £1.7 billion following a strong performance in its travel division.
It also delivered a significant uplift in group pre-tax profit before non-underlying items with a rise of 96% to £143 million.
In the year to 31 August, revenue in travel rose by 43% following growth of 36% in the UK, 32% in North America, and 99% in the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, the division’s trading profit climbed to £164 million from a previous £89 million.
Carl Cowling, WH Smith chief executive, said: “”Our global travel business is growing in all our key markets. It is highly scalable with multiple medium and long term growth opportunities and we are seeing great results from sharing our expertise and innovation across our different geographies.
“Our North American business is benefitting from our forensic approach to space management which has always been a key feature of our UK Travel operations. In the same way, the ability of our North American business to provide bespoke retail formats is now being successfully harnessed outside of the US.”
Looking at WH Smith’s high street business, sales edged down 1% in the year as trading profit declined to £32 million from £33 million in the prior period. The retailer said driving cost efficiencies remains a core part of the division’s strategy as it looks to deliver savings of £21 million over the next three years.
At the end of the period, the high street business operated from 514 stores compared to 537 at the same time last year.
Giving an update on WH Smith’s performance in the new financial year, Cowling said: “We have started the new financial year well with total revenue in Travel UK up 13%, North America up 15%, and ROW up 27%. With good trading and very positive prospects, despite the uncertainty in the economic environment, we are confident in the Group’s outlook for the new financial year.”
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