WHSmith has been open about its determination to avoid running out of stationery in the event of a chaotic departure from the European Union. They have made provisions to hold up to six months’ worth of stock rather than the usual three to four months’ worth.
The majority of its stationery, including pens, notepads and diaries, is sourced from Asia.
Stephen Clarke, chief executive officer of WHSmith, told Bloomberg: “We’re used to holding quite a bit of forward cover in terms of stock anyway, so what we’ve done is topped that up a little bit to put ourselves in an even better position should there be congestion at ports.”
He went on to say: “Beyond stationery, the majority of WH Smith’s goods are sourced domestically, such as magazines, newspapers and books, so the company is well positioned for Brexit.”
However, Bloomberg goes on to add that this comes at a time when publishers and paper manufacturers are stockpiling ink to avoid supply disruptions, and hedge against the risk that imported goods become more expensive if the pound weakens further.