WH Smith said its revenues surged 28 per cent compared to a year ago, as the group was bolstered by a busy period for summer travel.
The highstreet stalwart, which has stores in airports and train stations, said revenues across its travel hubs jumped 42 per cent as passengers return to their pre-Covid holiday habits.
During the year, the business opened 20 new stores, including eight new stores in hospitals – with plans to open over 15 new stores in the financial year ending August 2024.
In its home market of the UK total revenue rose 36 per cent compared to last year figures and in the US it surged 31 per cent.
WH Smith said the North American travel market has rebounded quicker than other countries, with the group opening 43 stores in the region during the year.
The firm also said it will trade in line with company expectations for the year.
“In the UK, we saw continued strength in air passenger numbers in the peak holiday season, building on the recovery in passenger numbers that we saw in the second half of the previous financial year,” the retailer said.
“Our hospital channel is performing well, and our rail channel has been resilient in view of the ongoing industrial action impacting rail.”
“In theory, WH Smith is highly leveraged to the travel industry. The more people get on a plane, train or bus, the higher the likelihood that the retailer’s earnings will go up,” Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said.
“Its stores in transport hubs can charge more for food, drinks and other products as there isn’t a lot of competition and travellers either don’t have time or are unable to go elsewhere for cheaper items.”
He added: “Its latest trading update reflects the growth in travel activity and the fact it is winning market share.
“Travel is the key driver for earnings, not the UK high street stores which are cash machines for the business but are arguably ex-growth. Here, it’s all about trimming costs and offering a functional place to buy stationery, books and snacks.”
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