WH Smith’s profits boosted by sales growth
LONDON: British books and stationery retailer WH Smith Plc reported a 6.9 per cent rise in annual pretax profits to £140 million ($185.57 million) on Thursday, with growth led by outlets at airports and other travel sites.
WH Smith said trading profit at its more than 750 outlets at travel hubs, including railway stations and motorway service areas, rose 10.3 per cent to £96 million and now makes up over 60 per cent of its trading profit. Trading profit at its high street outlets was flat at £62 million. The final dividend was increased by 10 per cent to take the year’s total payout to 48.2p a share.
However, shares in the company were down 2.6 per cent at 2016 pence at 0725 GMT, having risen more than 45 per cent so far this year.
The company’s travel business has been expanding internationally. It announced the win of six units in both Rome airports, adding another country to its mainland European presence of Alicante and Dusseldorf.
At home travel business sales over the summer also benefited from a sharp rise in the number of foreigners visiting Britain.
Official data showed that tourist numbers hit a record in July adding to evidence that the weak pound has made tourism a big beneficiary of last year’s Brexit vote.