CoronavirusHigh Street

WH Smith sales remain below pre-Covid levels

Despite seeing a ‘small impact’ from Omicron, WH Smith reported an improvement in sales across all channels.

WH Smith has announced that its revenue remains below pre-pandemic levels for the 20 week period ending 15 January 2022, with the total group revenues at 85% of 2019 levels for the same period.

In travel UK, revenues came in 70% of 2019 levels for the 20 week period, with total travel revenues at 83% compared to the same period. Additionally, total high street revenues are 87% of pre-Covid levels.

WH Smith’s online businesses,, and, reportedly performed “strongly” over the period with “good” stock availability.

WH Smith said that prior to the emergence of the Omicron variant in early December, the company saw a “consistent improvement” in sales across all channels, and a “resilient” performance in December.

Additionally, its cost savings target for the full year is “on track” and its gross margin has reportedly improved, driven by mix.

Despite seeing a “small impact” from Omicron, WH Smith said it anticipates that its travel markets will recover further through the spring, should there be no further restrictions. 

According to the company, it is “well placed” for the key trading period in travel over the summer.

Carl Cowling, group chief executive, said: “We are pleased with the progress the group has made in the period. 

“In travel, we have focused on our strategic objectives of increasing customer conversion, growing average transaction value and winning new space, all of which continue to deliver good results. We have now opened 16 of the recently won InMotion technology stores in UK airports and are pleased with their performance.”

He added: “Our high street business performed well, in line with our expectations, with our online businesses delivering strong performances.”

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