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WH Smith warns on profit

WH Smith has said it expects its first half underlying pre-tax profit to be in line with expectations but has warned that its full year profit… View Article

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

WH Smith warns on profit

WH Smith has said it expects its first half underlying pre-tax profit to be in line with expectations but has warned that its full year profit will be impacted by the coronavirus.

In the six months to 29 February, group total revenue was up 7%, although like-for-like sales edged down 1%. Trading was particularly strong at the retailer’s travel business which includes stores in airports and railway stations.

Looking ahead to its second half, WH Smith said it believes the effects of Covid-19 will result in a reduction in revenue and profit across its travel business both in the UK and overseas. The company said trading within its Asia travel business has already been significantly impacted by the virus.

As a result, WH Smith is now expecting its full year profit to be down by between £30 million and £40 million.

The company said: “WH Smith is a resilient business with a strong balance sheet, substantial cash liquidity and strong cashflow. The group has a strong management team in place and has consistently demonstrated that it can adapt and respond quickly to changing market conditions.

“Over the longer term, the board remains confident in the strategy and believes the group is well positioned to benefit from the normalisation and growth of the global travel market.”

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