WH Smith says trading is in line with expectations as it opens stores in Italy

Helen Cahill
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The retailer has been expanding abroad (Source: Getty)

WH Smith announced this morning that it was on track to meet its expectations for the year as it continued to court foreign markets with store openings in Italy.

In a trading update this morning, WH Smith did not disclose any figures, but said its travel business was performing strongly and its high street stores were delivering in line with expectations.

Read more: Premier Foods appoints former WH Smith finance chief as chairman

"Cost savings and margin improvements have been delivered in line with our profit-focused strategy," the retailer said.

Richard Chamberlain, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said he expects profit before tax to come in at £140m when the company reports its full-year results in October. Consensus estimates have forecast profit of £138m.

"WH Smith states that is has now opened its first three stores in Italy, two in Rome airports and one in Turin," Chamberlain said.

"There is some concern around the strength of the euro recently versus sterling, which may affect demand for travel next year, however we think this is likely to remain robust given air fares remain low."

Kate Calvert, analyst at Investec, said the store openings were a good sign for the year ahead, and noted that the company had also won contracts in Germany, Spain and Singapore. The retailer was “evolving into a play on the structurally-growing global travel retail market”, she said.

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