WH Smith has swung to a pre-tax loss of £226m in the 12 months ending 31 August 2020, down from a £135m profit reported last year.
Group revenue for the retailer also fell 33% to £1.02bn in the period, down from £1.39bn the previous year.
Liquidity increased to £200m, up from £140m last year, however, which the business said was due to its focus on cost and cash management schemes.
This included efforts to reduce stock purchases, returning sale or return stock and negotiating extended payment terms.
The company also made a “significant” reduction in its headcount across stores and head offices through furlough arrangements. As well as participating in the Job Retention Scheme, however, the group confirmed it had also restructured the business to “ensure headcount was in line with business requirements and reduced sales”.
Following the announcement of a second lockdown in England, WH Smith, which currently has 558 high street stores open and 243 Travel stores, including 206 Post Offices and 135 hospital stores, is expecting a “significant decline” ahead.
Passenger numbers as a result of travel bans with the majority of the stores at airports and railway stations are expected to see a drop in sales due to temporary closures.
Nonetheless, 135 stores located in hospitals across the UK however will remain open to serve key workers and internationally, the majority of stores remain open.
Carl Cowling, group chief executive, said: “Despite the many challenges faced, we responded quickly and took decisive actions to protect our colleagues, customers and the business, including strengthening our financial position.
“In High Street, we had seen a steady recovery and we were well set up both in stores and online as we went into the second lockdown. We currently have 558 stores open.”
He added: “We have a robust plan across all our businesses focusing on cost management and initiatives within our control which support us in the immediate term and position us well to emerge stronger as our markets recover.
“I have nothing but enormous admiration for all our colleagues across the business, be it in stores, our distribution centres or our head offices. Their support and commitment has been outstanding during this difficult period and I would like to thank every one of them for how they have responded.”