WH Smith pins its hopes on travellers

WH Smith gives its third quarter update later this week, with analysts tipping the company for a robust performance, despite the tough trading environment.

The company is pinning its hopes on international expansion while cutting costs to shore up profit. In contrast with companies like beleaguered HMV, WH Smith has steered relatively safely through choppy economic waters.

Chief executive Kate Swann could earn £8m in the next three years if she meets targets set by the board.

Keith Bowman, equities analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said ahead of Thursday’s figures for the third quarter: “The group’s mid-April half year results saw the company reporting ongoing progress.

“Whilst sales remained on the back foot, the profit margin continued to be expanded, aided by changes in the product mix. Strong cash flow continued to be seen, with the company announcing an 18 per cent increase in the interim dividend payment.”

After opening 19 international stores, WH Smith planned to open a further 21 sites abroad.