High Street stores no longer delivering revenue growth for WHSmith
By James Young | 22nd January 2020
They are one of the biggest names on the High Street, but WH Smith can no longer count on town centre stores to deliver revenue growth.
It is in train stations and airports where the stationer-turned convenience store is now king, with their seven per cent growth over the Christmas period down to its travel arm.
In a trading update for the 20 weeks to January 18, WH Smith PLC reported a seven per cent increase in total revenues, thanks to the Travel arm reporting a 19 per cent increase.
A statement from the firm said: "In our UK Travel business, we saw good sales growth across all of our key channels with strong sales per passenger driven by our initiatives and ongoing investment."
The group opened 15 to 20 new units over the course of 2019 including eight in hospitals taking the Travel arm to 1,200 stores across 32 countries with more than 600 outside of the UK.
The firm's High Street business reported a five per-cent decrease in both total revenue and like-for-like sales.
The statement said: "Gross margin was ahead of plan and we have identified £3m of additional cost savings which will be weighted towards the second half of the current financial year, bringing the total cost savings for the year to £12m."
Carl Cowling, Group Chief Executive said: "We are pleased with the progress the Group has made in the first 20 weeks, with total revenue up 7 per cent.
"In UK Travel, we have seen continued growth across all our key channels and we are on track to open a new flagship pharmacy format at Heathrow Terminal 2 this summer.
"Our High Street strategy continues to deliver through continued gross margin gains and tight cost control.
"Throughout this busy trading period, it is our colleagues, particularly across our stores, who work tremendously hard and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them.
"Without the continued support of our fantastic team we would not be able to achieve these results.
"Looking ahead, we are on track for the current year and as we continue to grow our share of the global travel retail market, the Group is well positioned for the years ahead."
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