WH Smith returns to profit and hopes to capitalise on travel comeback
Stationery giant WH Smith has returned to profit and said it was set to reap the benefits of opening a number of new stores in airports as international travel rebounded.
In interim results for the six months ended 28 February 2022, the high street named revealed headline profit before tax and non-underlying items hit £14m.
This was versus the comparable period in 2021 where the company marked a loss of £19m, due to the UK’s Covid lockdown rules limiting retail and travel.
The chain pointed to a new store pipeline of more than 125 stores in travel hubs, including 63 in North America and 31 in Spain.
What’s more, total travel revenue in the eight week period to 23 April 2022 stood at 114 per cent of 2019 levels.
Carl Cowling, group chief executive, said: “Looking ahead, we continue to invest in the business where we see attractive growth opportunities and have positioned the group well to benefit from the return of passenger numbers. We have improved the scale and footprint of the business and are operationally stronger than prior to the pandemic.
“While there are some uncertainties in the broader global economy, the group is well positioned to capitalise on the ongoing recovery in our key markets and take advantage of the many opportunities ahead.”
Shares dipped more than three per cent in early trading on Wednesday morning.