WH Smith enjoys strong start to the year in the face of tough trading conditions

WH Smith

Retailer WH Smith said it has made a strong start to the year in the face of tough economic conditions.

The Swindon based retailer has issued a trading statement which covers the all-important Christmas period.

The company said it delivered a strong performance over the 20 week period with total revenue up 41 per cent compared to the prior year and up 20 per cent versus 2019.

Across its global travel business WH Smith said it saw continued momentum since the start of the financial year resulting in a strong 20 week performance up 48 per cent on 2019 and up 77 per cent on 2022.

The figures were delivered despite international passenger numbers remaining well below 2019 levels.

The UK high street division delivered a good performance, in line with expectations.

Carl Cowling, group chief executive said:  “The group has made a strong start to the financial year, with our global travel retail business growing strongly across all regions.

“Our strategy to transform our customer offer continues at pace through broadening our categories and expanding our ranges, to include health and beauty and tech accessories, and is underpinned by a forensic approach to retail.”

He added: “We continue to make good progress with our store opening programme and, in the year to date, we have opened over 40 new stores.

“We have also won significant tenders at Reagan National airport in Washington and Palm Springs airport in the US, as well as a further three InMotion stores in Italy at Rome Fiumicino airport. This takes the total number of stores we have won and yet to open to over 130.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our team across the globe and, in particular, our store colleagues who have worked exceptionally hard serving our customers throughout this busy trading period.

“The group is in its strongest ever position as a global travel retailer. This strength, combined with the ongoing improvement in passenger numbers across the globe, means that we are confident of another year of significant growth in 2023.”