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WH Smith travel sales boosted by tourists splurging on souvenirs

12 October 2017

In the year to 31 August 2017, total revenue rose 2% to £1.23bn from £1.21bn last year but was flat on a like-for-like basis.

WH Smith has also proposed a 10 per cent increase in the final dividend per share to 48.2 pence. Trading profit at the division rose by 10 per cent to £96 million.

Group revenue rose two per cent to £1.2bn, in line with analyst forecasts, with travel revenue up nine per cent, while high street revenue dipped five per cent.

"While the economic environment remains uncertain, we are well positioned for the current year and beyond".

WH Smith has 582 travel stores across the United Kingdom, as well as a growing overseas footprint, with 233 global shops.

The company's travel business has been expanding internationally.

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WH Smith said it is targeting a further £9mln of cost savings for the next financial year.

He added: "The High Street business performed well - matching the particularly strong profit performance from previous year".

Commenting on the results, Stephen Clarke, Group Chief Executive, said: "We have delivered a good performance across the Group". It's continuing the focus on travel, with 15 new units opened in the United Kingdom during the year.

"It's a very different strategy in the high street business compared with travel - just because travel has overtaken it, that doesn't signal a change in strategy for the high street". "Falling sales on the high street will inevitably hit profits eventually, but continued success in Travel should mean that's a smaller headwind going forwards".

The group tapped into the rise in overseas traveller numbers by dedicating more space to souvenirs, while it also benefited from a food-to-go range. This represents more than 60 per cent of the group's trading profits and includes £9 million from its growing global travel business. "The trend is only likely to continue".

WH Smith travel sales boosted by tourists splurging on souvenirs