WH Smith announces plans to open 80 new stores across globe

High street retailer WH Smith says revenues have increased by 28 per cent per cent as the impact of Covid continues to recede.

As a result the Swindon firm expects the trading outcome for the year to to be in line with its upgraded expectations.

The company has revealed it expects to open 80 new stores in the coming year.

The increase in revenue was largely driven by the travel division which was up 42 per cent.

The improved sales performance in the year reflects the much stronger passenger numbers in the second half of our 2022 financial year compared to the first half of 2022, which included the impact from the Omicron variant.

The travel businesses continued to benefit from the recovery in passenger numbers across all our key travel markets.

In the UK, WH Smith saw continued strength in air passenger numbers in the peak holiday season, building on the recovery in passenger numbers that the company saw in the second half of the previous financial year.

The hospital business is performing well while the rail division has been resilient in view of the ongoing industrial action in the UK.

During the year WH Smith opened 20 new stores including eight new stores in hospitals. The company expects to open over 15 new stores in the financial year ending August 2024.

The businesses in North America and the rest of the world continued to show good momentum, whilst also reflecting the strength in the Pound.

The North American travel market, which recovered ahead of other markets, has returned to normal trading patterns.

During the year WH Smith opened 43 stores in North America, and have had further recent significant tender wins, including four stores at San Diego airport.

Across the world an additional 30 stores have opened and the company has won further new business, including new stores at Budapest and Madrid airports.

In the financial year ending 31 August 2024 the anticipate opening over 40 new stores in North America and 25 new stores in the rest of the world.

Including the UK Travel business WH Smith plans to opens over 80 new stores across all its  travel businesses. 

The High Street business has performed well and in line with expectations.

The firm said its strategy remains unchanged as it continues to focus on cost efficiencies and the return on space.