WH Smith plans to open 110 new stores over next year

WH Smith

Retailer WH Smith says it is in its strongest ever position as its global business continues to expand.

The Swindon based company has transformed itself from a traditional newsagent and stationery story into an international business.

And in its interim results the company announced it is looking to open around 110 new stores over the course of the financial year.

The company has released results for the last six months. It said total group revenue was up by eight per cent to £926m.

Headline group profit before tax and non-underlying items was of £46m, a slight increase on the previous year.

The firm said it has a new store pipeline of over 80 stores won and yet to open in its travel division, including over 50 in North America.

WH Smith added that it expects to open a total of 110 stores this financial year.

The company said it has a good start to the second half and trading momentum continues ahead of peak summer period.

Group chief executive Carl Cowling: “The group is in its strongest ever position as a global travel retailer.

“We have had a good first half and our businesses are well positioned for the peak summer trading period.

“Total Travel revenue is up 13%. The board is today announcing an interim dividend of 11.0p reflecting current trading and the significant medium and long term prospects for our global travel business.

“Our Travel divisions are trading well and I am particularly pleased with the outstanding performance from our UK Travel business which has seen a 19% increase in trading profit. We continue to make excellent progress in this division, growing our space and broadening our categories as we transition to a one-stop-shop for travel essentials.

“In North America, it has been a very active period where we have opened a further 13 stores. We have also now fully integrated InMotion into our core airport business. This will allow us to sell tech accessories more effectively across our North American airport estate and generate operational efficiencies.

“None of this would be possible without the exceptional efforts of the entire team and I am extremely grateful for their ongoing commitment and hard work.

“The second half of the financial year has started well, and we are on track to deliver full year expectations. We are confident that 2024 will be another year of significant progress for the group.”