Following the trend of similar trading statements in previous years, the FTSE 250 retailer did not stack the shelves with precise numbers but said its travel business had performed “strongly” in the year to 31 August and that sales across its airports, stations and hospitals were all “good”.
Profit margins and stores openings were “in line with plan”, with shops near NHS hospital waiting rooms now the second largest channel and 428 stores open outside the UK compared to 286 a year ago.
Three InMotion outlets have now been opened outside US airports since the acquisition of the US airport retailer for £155mln last October and the company sees “further opportunities” to grow its other stories in the international travel retail market, where it still has a small market share.
WH Smith, which is so infamous for the state of its messy shelves and tatty carpets that it has inspired an unofficial twitter fan account @WHS_Carpet, said its UK-focused high street business continued to perform in line with expectations, which means sales are falling but profits and cash are flowing.
As new partnership for the high street business, there were 202 Post Offices open in WH Smith stores, up from nine at the half-year stage.