High Street

WH Smith lockdown trading exceeds expectations

it continues to see ‘significant growth’ from its online businesses with recording record sales for the Valentine's day period

WH Smith has revealed that the group has delivered a “better than expected performance” during the latest lockdown period.

According to the high street retailer, it has “adapted well” to the evolving trading environment and despite reduced footfall, revenue in its High Street business in January 2021 was at 74% of 2019 levels and 84% of 2019 levels in February 2021.

Within its high street business, it added it continues to see “significant growth” from its online businesses with recording record sales for the Valentine’s day period.

In its travel business it revealed total revenue in January 2021 was 35% of 2019 levels and 33% of 2019 levels in February 2021, with North America continuing to be its best performing market in Travel.

As a result of its better than anticipated trading performance since the start of January 2021, WH Smith said it has improved its cash burn position and now expects the monthly cash burn over the period January to March 2021 to be approximately £12m-£17m versus the previously guided £15m-£20m per month.

The group also revealed it has extended the maturity of its two existing £200m Term Loans to October 2023 and agreed a new minimum liquidity covenant for both the August 2021 and February 2022 covenant tests. The changes have enabled the group to cancel its existing £120m liquidity loan which was undrawn and due to expire in November 2021.

As at 28 February 2021, the group revealed it had cash on deposit of £52m with £50m of known commitments and access to £200m of committed facilities.

WH Smith will reveal its interim results on the 29 April 2021.

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