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WH Smith's share price climbs after retailer announces share buyback programme

Helen Cahill
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WH Smith Announces Huge Losses
The company upped its dividend for the year (Source: Getty)

WH Smith's share price was up 3.5 per cent this morning after the company said its pre-tax profits increased eight per cent year-on-year.

The retailer also increased its dividend by 12 per cent and said it would be starting a £50m share buyback programme.

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Group like-for-like sales were up by one per cent, helped by a four per cent growth in sales in WH Smith's travel stores.

Stephen Clarke, WH Smith's chief executive said: "While the economic environment is uncertain, we are well positioned for the current year and beyond."

Retail analyst Nick Bubb said: "Well, shopping in WH Smith may not be the most pleasant experience, particularly in its hospital shops, but you have to admire the relentless way in which the business generates higher profits and cash."

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The overall shopping experience at WH Smith is lovingly documented online by a Twitter account called WHS Carpet, which is dedicated to the carpets at the retailer.

WH Smith outlets in NHS hospitals delivered a six per cent like-for-like sales growth in the year to the end of August. However, sales in the retailer's high street stores were down two per cent.

WH Smith said: "Both the travel and high street businesses are cash generative and we utilise our cash efficiently; investing in the business and new opportunities and making appropriate acquisitions whilst consistently growing dividends and returning cash to shareholders as part of our long-term strategy to create value for shareholders."

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