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TOP NEWS: WH Smith "excited" for summer and full year as revenue rises

31st May 2023 09:20

(Alliance News) - WH Smith on Wednesday said its outlook for the full financial year has "modestly improved" since its previous announcement in late April, following strong performances across all key markets in the past three months.

WH Smith is a London-based books and stationary retailer that operates on UK high streets, while its Travel arm operates in locations such as airports and train stations globally.

The company said total group revenue in the 13 weeks ended May 27 increased by 23% compared with the same period the prior year, while total revenue in Travel increased by 31%. Total Travel revenue in the UK increased 24%, while in North America it increased by 26%. In the rest of world, it jumped 79%.

WH Smith said the strong UK growth was driven by various factors including the ongoing return of passenger numbers to pre-pandemic levels, a focus on average transactional value and its "travel essentials one-stop shop format". It said total revenue was up 26% in air and 33% in hospitals, while rail revenue increased 10% despite the impact of industrial action.

The company also attributed the growth in North America to recovering passenger numbers, as well as to openings in its pipeline of new stores.

Meanwhile, total revenue in the company's High Street arm increased by 2%. This included both in-store and online sales.

WH Smith said it is "very well positioned" for further growth across Travel markets, with a pipeline of 130 yet-to-open new stores including 60 in North America. It is optimistic about its performance during the upcoming peak summer trading period, and said it is "excited" about further growth opportunities in North America. Finally, the company said it has a "strong pipeline", and is in "active discussions" regarding multiple tenders, outside North America and the UK.

Overall, WH Smith said its expectations for the full financial year had "further improved".

Shares in WH Smith were up 1.3% at 1,548.00 pence on Wednesday in London.

By Emma Curzon, Alliance News reporter

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