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WHSmith trading boosted past pre-pandemic levels

·2-min read
WHSmith airport business rose by  123% on pre-pandemic levels   (WH Smith)
WHSmith airport business rose by 123% on pre-pandemic levels (WH Smith)

High street retailer WHSmith anticipates full year pre-tax profits to beat analyst expectations following a leap in trading topping pre-pandemic levels.

Profit guidance for the business is now expected to be at the top end of expectations at £72 million in its year end financials, up from previous estimates of £69 million, after a trading update for the group confirmed that revenue was boosted 107% on 2019 for the 15 weeks to 11 June.

A return to airports by passengers after the easing of coronavirus restrictions added a 23% boost to 123% of 2019 levels, while high street sales have dropped to 79% of 2019 levels.

In the UK, overall trading was boosted 104% of 2019 levels while North American interests jumped to 111% on the same period.

“As passenger numbers recover, we continue to see strong average transaction value (ATV) growth and higher penetration driven by our ongoing focus to significantly enhance our ranges and develop our categories, such as health and beauty and technology,” WHSmith said.

The retailer added that while the broader global economy remained “uncertain” that it was well positioned to “capitalise” on the ongoing recovery in its key markets and take advantage of opportunities ahead.

WHSmith has adapted its trading model introducing the InMotion technology-led outlets and chemists in partnership with Well Pharmacies.

At the end of April,  WHSmith announced a pre-tax profit of £14 million in the six months to 28 February, up from a loss of £19 million in the same period a year earlier.

Carl Cowling boss of  the company said it had a pipeline of 125 travel stores to launch with 63 in the US and 31 in Spain, where the retailer had won a “significant” airport tender.

Other outlets set to open are in locations as varied as Australia, Malaysia, Finland and Sweden.

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