WH Smith’s prof­its boosted by sales growth

Oman Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

— Reuters

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