WH Smith, a renowned books, magazine, and snack retailer, has announced a slowdown in growth in its travel business during the second half of the year compared to the first half. Despite this, the company remains confident in its upgraded fiscal 2023 earnings.
For the year ended August 31, WH Smith's revenue increased by 18% on a like-for-like basis. The travel segment saw a significant rise of 27%, while the high street segment experienced a modest 1% growth. In the second half, group revenue increased by 11%, with travel up by 15% and high street up by 1%. This contrasts with the first half, where the group's like-for-like revenue growth was 27%, driven by a strong performance in the travel sector.
According to WH Smith, the sales performance throughout the year reflects the substantial increase in passenger numbers in the second half of their 2022 financial year, which was impacted by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Back in May, WH Smith had already revised its full-year guidance upward following a strong revenue performance for the 13-week period ending May 27. However, specific figures were not provided at that time. Analysts, according to a FactSet poll, projected a pretax profit of £143.7 million ($180.6 million) and revenue of £1.80 billion.
In regards to expansion plans, WH Smith intends to open 40 new stores in North America and an additional 25 stores worldwide. This includes over 80 new stores across their travel businesses in the current fiscal year, while also catering to the U.K. travel market.
WH Smith is scheduled to release its fiscal 2023 earnings on November 9.
At 1001 GMT, the company's shares were down by 90.0 pence or 6.1%, reaching 1,394.0 pence.