Profits Up 8% At WH Smith

WH Smith has posted an 8% rise in annual profits, helped by strong growth at its travel outlets.

In the year to 31 August, the group recorded a pre-tax profit of £131m on revenues up 3% to £1.21bn.

Its travel division, which cover stores at airports and train stations, delivered a strong performance with total sales compared to last year up 10% and like-for-like sales up 4%. The group said this reflected the impact of its key initiatives as well as improved passenger numbers. Trading profit increased by 9% to £87m.

The group opened 18 new travel units in the UK during the year, taking the total to 576 in the UK. It also won a 32 units in its international channel, making a total of 232 units, of which 192 are open.

In its high street division, trading profit rose 5% to £62m, boosted by cost saving initiatives. However, total sales were down 3% and like-for-like sales slipped 2%. The group said stationery sales had been strong in the year, whilst books benefited from the success of the Zoella Book Club which launched during the summer.

Looking ahead, Chief Executive Stephen Clarke said: “We will continue to focus on profitable growth, cash generation and investing in new opportunities. While the economic environment is uncertain, we are well positioned for the current year and beyond.”