WH Smith to open local 'Metro' stores

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The Independent Online

WH Smith is considering opening a chain of high-street convenience stores in an attempt to capture more sales in busy city-centre locations.

WH Smith is considering opening a chain of high-street convenience stores in an attempt to capture more sales in busy city-centre locations.

The first two stores will open in London next Easter with sites on Tottenham Court Road and another as yet to be named location in the City of London.

The 2,500-3,000 sq ft shops will stock a range of more upmarket greeting cards and magazines. Books will include a large number of contemporary fiction titles while tobacco and confectionery are also likely to be sold. But the company has decided against selling drinks and sandwiches after a failed "WH Smith Express" trial a few years ago.

The stores, temporarily dubbed WH Smith Metro, could form the blueprint for up to 40 stores in cities such as Manchester and Edinburgh.The move is part of Smith's plan to make its format more flexible so it can open in a wider range of locations. It is also keen to improve its railway-station travel stores.

Britain's largest retailers are increasingly adopting a more flexible approach to store size. In June, Sainsbury's announced plans to open up to 1,000 Sainsbury's Local convenience stores. Marks & Spencer is also opening more neighbourhood stores which typically sell just the food range and the most regularly bought clothing ranges.

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