WH Smith reports lift in profits
Retail chain WH Smith reported an 8 per cent rise in annual profits today as it overcame falling sales at its travel and high street divisions.
The haul of £81 million in the year to August 31 was achieved despite a 5 per cent drop in like-for-like sales, with total revenues off £12 million at £1.34 billion.
The retailer said its travel division, which operates from 490 sites at airports, railway stations and motorway service areas, grew operating profits by 17 per cent to £48 million. Cost controls and improved margins drove the performance as like-for-like sales were down 2 per cent due to the impact of lower passenger numbers.
High street operating profits were up by £2 million to £49 million, despite a 6 per cent drop in like-for-like sales.
Under the leadership of chief executive Kate Swann, the company has reduced its reliance on the highly competitive entertainment market, including CDs and DVDs. It is now focused on its core books, stationery and confectionery markets.
High street like-for-like sales were down 2 per cent when stripping out entertainment sales. Margins in the division improved due to better buying terms, improved product sourcing and greater control of promotional activity.
The division now operates from 565 stores.
Ms Swann said the company had delivered "another strong performance." She added: "Operating performance was ahead of our expectations in both our travel and high street divisions."
The company said it will return £35 million of cash to shareholders through a rolling share buyback programme, while its final dividend has been increased by 16 per cent to 11.3p a share.
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 There is literally not a single woman in this iPhone 6 queue
- 3 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
- 4 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
- 5 Scottish independence referendum: JK Rowling, Russell Brand, Nigel Farage and more react to the 'No' vote
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
Scottish independence referendum results: David Cameron pledges plans for 'English votes for English laws' by January
Scottish independence live: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum - as it happened
Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
iJobs Money & Business
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...
Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...
£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...