WH Smith said revenues had surged in the first few months of its financial year today as its airport and train station-based shops reaped the rewards of a rebound in travel.
In a trading update today on the 20 weeks to the 14th January, the book and stationery stalwart said that revenues ramped up 40 per cent after bumper growth in its travel division across the UK and North America.
Bosses said UK revenues in its travel business jumped 70 per cent compared to the prior year and were 18 per cent up on pre-pandemic levels in 2019, after a strong performance in airports, hospitals and rail.
The group’s high street division slumped two per cent on last year however, amid a wider decline in high street footfall and tightening consumer spending. Revenues contracted by two per cent and are down 14 per cent on pre-pandemic numbers in 2019.
Carl Cowling, group chief executive, said it had been a “strong start” to the year for the firm and it was now targeting growth into new products.
“Our strategy to transform our customer offer continues at pace through broadening our categories and expanding our ranges, to include health and beauty and tech accessories, and is underpinned by a forensic approach to retail,” he said.
Cowling added the firm had made “good progress” on its global growth plans, with 40 news stores opened across regions.
He said: “We have also won significant tenders at Reagan National airport in Washington and Palm Springs airport in the US, as well as a further three InMotion stores in Italy at Rome Fiumicino airport. This takes the total number of stores we have won and yet to open to over 130.”