High street restructure dents WH Smith profits as revenues pass £1.26bn
WH Smith plc saw profits dip 4% in its last financial year as revenues remained steady.
The retailer made a pre-tax profit of £134m in the 12 months to August 31 2018, down from £140m the year previous.
The single-figure dip was attributed to non-recurring costs of £11m, which included a review of its high street operation and the impact of an ‘uncompleted transaction’.
Discarding these non-recurring costs, WH Smith grew its profit before tax 4% year on year to £145m.
Groupwide revenues for the period stood at £1.262bn, an increase of 2% on 2017’s figure.
WH Smith’s Travel business, which includes stores based at airports, saw revenue growth of 8%. Comparatively, revenues from the firm’s High Street operation fell 3%.
Stephen Clarke, group chief exec, said: “We have delivered a good performance across the Group.
“Travel accounts for over half our sales and two thirds of our profits and continues to perform strongly with revenue growth of 8% in the year.”
He added: “This performance has been driven by our ongoing investment in stores and growth in passenger numbers. Profit in Travel is up 7% to £103m.”
WH Smith’s international business now comprises 286 units across 27 countries and 50 airports.
This year, the company added 42 new units to its lineup, including “significant” tenders in South America and Europe, Mr Clarke said.
He continued: “We had a good year in High Street despite the well documented challenges of the UK high street.
“While there is some uncertainty in the economic environment, we are pleased with the start to the new year in both businesses, and will continue to focus on profitable growth, cash generation and new opportunities to profitably invest for the future.”
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