WH Smith delivers positive results
The retailer said that in its first-half trading period to 28 February, its group profit from trading operations was up 3% year-on-year to £72million despite a “difficult consumer environment". Group total sales fell 5% on a like-for-like basis.
High street stores saw trade decrease by 6% compared to the same period last year. However, gross margin improved by 170 basis points year-on-year and the retailer finished the half year with £70 million in net cash.
Commenting on the results, Kate Swann, group chief executive said:
"We have delivered a good performance across the Group, despite a difficult consumer environment.
"In Travel we have grown profit by 9%, demonstrating the strength of the business model. We are encouraged by the performance of our international units and now have a total of 40 units either opened or planned. Our High Street business continues to be highly profitable and cash generative.
"During the first half we have returned £27m to shareholders through the share buyback and increased the interim dividend by 18%, demonstrating the Board's confidence in the future prospects of the Group and its continued cash generative nature.
"Looking forward, we expect the economic environment to remain challenging and we have planned accordingly."
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