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WHSmith H1 profits climb to £14m amid strong travel sales

The retailer said it is ‘well positioned’ to benefit from new store opening opportunities in the global travel market

WHSmith has announced its profits-before-tax climbed to £14m, up from a loss of £19m in 2021, due to an increase in travel revenues.

In a trading update of its interim results for the six-month period ended 28 February 2022, Travel trading profit increased to £10m in 2022 from a loss of £28m in 2021. 

The group said it has emerged from the pandemic “operationally stronger” and with “significantly enhanced” expansion opportunities.

High street trading profit has also risen to £26m from £24m in 2021 and the retailer said it is “well positioned” to benefit from new store opening opportunities in the global travel market

According to WHSmith, it has a new store pipeline of over 125 stores won in Travel, including 63 in North America and 31 in Spain.

The group said it has a focused plan on customer conversion, increasing average transaction value (ATV). 

Carl Cowling, group chief executive, said: “The group has delivered a good performance with a strong rebound in profitability. We have seen a recovery across all our travel markets despite the impact of the Omicron variant in Q2, and we are in a strong position to capture growth as the recovery continues.

“Across the globe, we continue to roll out our Travel stores across all our formats. Since the start of the financial year, we have won 74 stores, including a significant tender win in Spain, bringing the total pipeline to over 125 stores. We expect more space to become available, particularly in North America, as our markets continue to recover.”

He added: “Our High Street business delivered a resilient and profitable performance in the period, despite the challenges facing the UK high street. During the period, our online businesses continued to perform well against a strong pandemic-related performance in the prior year.

“While there are some uncertainties in the broader global economy, the group is well positioned to capitalise on the ongoing recovery in our key markets and take advantage of the many opportunities ahead.”

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