Profits soar by 96 per cent at retailer WH Smith

High street retailer WH Smith said it has enjoyed a strong performance in the last year with revenues up 28 per cent to £1.793bn

Headline profit before tax and non-underlying items was up 96 per cent to £143m.

The Swindon based company added that it is opened over 110 stores  including over 60 in North America

Carl Cowling, group chief executive, said: “This has been another year of significant progress for the group.

“Our Travel divisions have all seen strong growth with Travel UK total revenue up 36 per cent, North America up 32 per cent and ROW up 99 per cent, and I am very pleased with the start to the new financial year.

“Our global travel business is growing in all our key markets. It is highly scalable with multiple medium and long term growth opportunities and we are seeing great results from sharing our expertise and innovation across our different geographies.

“Our North American business is benefitting from our forensic approach to space management which has always been a key feature of our UK Travel operations. In the same way, the ability of our North American business to provide bespoke retail formats is now being successfully harnessed outside of the US.”

He added: “WHSmith is a highly cash generative business. In 2024, we expect to invest a further £140m which will drive further growth and at the same time we expect our leverage to fall within our target range.

“These results would not be possible without the extraordinary efforts of our entire team across the globe, and I would like to offer my sincere thanks for their support.

“The Board’s decision to propose an increase to the final dividend to 20.8p per share, making a full year dividend of 28.9p per share, reflects the good performance, the Group’s cash generation and our confidence in the future given the multiple growth opportunities that exist for WHSmith.

“We have started the new financial year well with total revenue in Travel UK up 13 per cent, North America up 15 per cent, and ROW up 27 per cent. With good trading and very positive prospects, despite the uncertainty in the economic environment, we are confident in the froup’s outlook for the new financial year.”