WH Smith bets on travel to ease its high street woes
Friday 08 July 2011
WH Smith posted another fall in sales yesterday, but the magazine and stationery retailer said the pace of declines had eased. It added that its profit margins had improved as a result of cost-cutting.
The group expressed confidence in its full-year results as it posted a 1 per cent decline in total sales for the first 18 weeks of its second half, to 2 July. Like-for-like sales were down 4 per cent against a year ago, an improvement on the 21 weeks to 22 January, when they were down by 5 per cent.
Yesterday's update also showed that sales at the company's travel stores at airports and stations were up by 2 per cent, with the like-for-like figure down by a similar amount. The high street business saw a 3 per cent decline in sales, with the like-for-like figure down by 4 per cent in the 18 months to the beginning of July.
The performances marked an improvement from the retailer's last update. Recent months had seen further "gross margin expansion", the company said, adding that at its new store-opening programme was continuing to make progress. It also said that its cost savings were on target.
But WH Smith was careful to acknowledge the tough retail backdrop, saying: "The economic environment remains uncertain and while we continue to be cautious about consumer spending, we remain confident in the outcome for the full year."
The message was welcomed in the City, with Panmure Gordon's analyst Philip Dorgan saying that WH Smith's shares deserved to trade at a "substantial premium to the sector". The positive assessment was echoed by Kate Calvert at Seymour Pierce, who highlighted the company's "strong management team", led by its chief executive, Kate Swann.
Actress sees off speculation about her face in an amazing way
Florida mother launched a petition to ban the sale of the dolls
Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online
- 1 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 2 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 3 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after treatment by British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis
Ottawa shooting: Canadian soldier dies after being shot at National War Memorial – with one gunman killed inside parliament
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Diwali 2014: What is the festival of lights and how is it celebrated around the world?
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
iJobs Money & Business
£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £Competitive: SThree: SThree Group and have be...