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WH Smith remains confident despite ‘small’ impact of Omicron

WH Smith has said its group sales stood at 85% of 2019 revenue in the 20 weeks to 15 January as it hailed good progress across… View Article

GENERAL MERCHANDISE NEWS

WH Smith remains confident despite ‘small’ impact of Omicron

WH Smith has said its group sales stood at 85% of 2019 revenue in the 20 weeks to 15 January as it hailed good progress across the group.

In its high street business, total revenue came in at 87% of that of two years ago which was in line with expectations. The retailer said it maintained good stock availability in the period and exited Christmas with a clean stock position and with cost savings on track for the full year.

WH Smith stores at travel locations in the UK saw their sales reach 70% of 2019 revenue for the 20 week period. Prior to the emergence of the Omicron variant in early December, the retailer said the business saw a consistent  improvement in sales trends which was followed by a resilient performance in December.

The retailer said its has made good progress in opening its In Motion technology stores in the UK with 16 of the 30 stores now open including shops at London Heathrow, London Stansted, Manchester and Edinburgh airports.

Carl Cowling, WH Smith group chief executive, said: “In travel, we have focused on our strategic objectives of increasing customer conversion, growing average transaction value and winning new space, all of which continue to deliver good results. We have now opened 16 of the recently won In Motion technology stores in UK airports and are pleased with their performance. Our strong track record of winning new tenders in the US continues, with a significant nine store win at Kansas airport.”

WH Smith said it has seen a small impact from the Omicron variant since the start of December, but if there are no further Covid-a9 restrictions, it expects its travel markets to recover further through the spring.

Looking ahead, Cowling added: “We are well placed for the key trading period in travel this summer and the ongoing recovery in our markets.”

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