WH Smith keeps up margins as Swann bows out

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The Independent Online

The last trading update from WH Smith's outgoing chief executive yesterday had a familiar ring to those throughout her 10-year tenure: sales fell but it touted continued progress made on profit margins.

Kate Swann leaves at the end of this month and has been feted for her turnaround at the group, driven by exiting entertainment products, focusing on higher-margin products, such as stationery, and rapidly expanding its business into train stations.

Its high street business saw a 7 per cent fall in underlying revenue over the 14 weeks to 8 June. Steve Clarke, the managing director of the high street business, takes over from Ms Swann.