WH Smith to benefit from higher travel sales

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WH Smith
WH Smith's high street sales are in decline (Source: Getty)

Growing appetite for WH Smith's airport snacks and paperbacks is set to propel the retailer to a sixth year of record profits this week.

The firm’s travel business has already eclipsed its presence on the high street, with more than 750 shops in train and plane terminals delivering most of its earnings.

Shares in the FTSE 250 group have hovered around record highs in recent weeks as several brokers upgraded their forecasts on the back of a strong summer.

Read more: WH Smith says trading is on track as it opens stores in Italy

Analysts at Investec expect WH Smiths’ results for the year to August on Thursday to show revenues up two per cent to £1.24bn, while pre-tax profits are set to rise 5.8 per cent to £137.7m. They have also noted that new openings at airports have been accelerating in the past few months “which bodes well for momentum” going into the new trading year.

The strong performance for travel sales is set to outweigh another year of dwindling revenues in the 225-year-old company’s former heartland on the high street, where like-for-like sales are expected to fall four per cent.

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