Smiths News rejuvenation plan bears fruit as turnover jumps

SALES at newspaper and magazine distributor Smiths News have risen two per cent in the period since August, mainly due to the firm’s growing education division, the company said yesterday.

Last year’s £44m acquisition of stationery supplier The Consortium, described by Smiths News chief executive Mark Cashmore as “transformational”, was a significant driver of revenue growth. Like-for-like sales, which excluded acquisitions, were down four per cent on a year-by-year basis, as trading in Smiths News’ core newspaper and magazine business declined.

However, the group’s book publisher Bertrams continued to perform strongly, with revenues rising 4.4 per cent

The company’s performance was well-received by investors as a sign that Smiths can continue to grow even in a struggling print market, with shares rising 5.3 per cent, or 8p yesterday to close at 159.75p.

“We have increasing confidence that the non-news businesses will be able to generate sufficient growth,” Peel Hunt analyst Christopher Bamberry said.