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High Street

WH Smith to open 18 new stores across UK airports

The stores will trade under the North American, InMotion brand with the group anticipating that the new openings will deliver sales of £60m per year

WH Smith has announced that it will open 18 new technology and accessories stores across some UK airports, including London Heathrow, London Stansted, Manchester, London Luton, Birmingham and East Midlands.

The stores will trade under the North American, InMotion brand with the group anticipating that the new openings will deliver sales of £60m per year.

The news follows the retailer’s recent trading update for the 18 week period to 3 July 2021, which saw total revenue in the high street remain below pre-pandemic levels at 86%.

However, the group’s North American business was “trading ahead” of expectations with total revenue during the period at 74% compared with 2019 levels benefiting from more recent sales, in June, at 88% of 2019 levels.

In addition, the retailer’s liquidity position still “remains strong” and is consistent with its refinancing announcement. The group continues to focus on minimising cash flows, with cash burn over the March to June period at approximately £2m per month.

As at the end of June 2021, the group had cash of £95m with the revolving credit facility of £250m remaining undrawn.

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