Sales slowdown hits WH Smith
Thursday 12 November 1998
Smith's attributed the fall to fewer customers on the high street as customers rein back spending because of fear of recession. Richard Handover, Smith's chief executive, said: "What we are seeing is people being very cautious. Many got burned in the last recession and so they are being careful. But the danger is that we could end up talking ourselves into recession." Smith's comments follow similarly gloomy forecasts by Marks & Spencer and Boots lasts week.
Smith's said sales of books had stabilised after a period of losing market share. Newspaper and magazines sales had been marginally affected by comparisons with last year, when periodical sales were inflated following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Smith's is closing 30 stores as a result of its acquisition of the John Menzies retail business in May. However, some of these stores will be poorly located branches of Smith's.
The company confirmed that it is looking at creating superstores from its existing portfolio by utilising extra space in some of its larger stores. This will help the group battle against the invasion by US superstore giants such as Borders as well as Waterstone's, its former subsidiary. However, Mr Handover said there were no plans to open new shops in a superstore format.
Smith's has reported three-month figures due to a change to its financial year-end. Profits in the three months to August were pounds 2m compared to pounds 3m last year.
The summer months are traditionally a quiet time for Smith's, accounting for just 20 per cent of annual group sales.
The shares closed 10p lower at 506.5p.
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
Spain accused of 'provocation' after letting Russian submarine refuel off Gibraltar
Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...