WHSmith has reported profits for the year ending August 31 will be in line with expections, boosted by strong growth in its Travel division. Within the Travel division the retailer’s hospital branches have emerged as its second biggest money maker after airports.
In addition to the impressive sales in hospital branches, the results show that high-margin stationery is helping to drive profits in its high-street stores.
The retailer commented on the high-street arm of the business in its Pre-close trading update on 28 August: “We continue to focus on our successful stationery business, developing new ranges and allocating additional space to the category in our High Street stores. In addition, we now have 202 Post Offices open in our High Street stores.”
It also commented that its high-street business, focused in the UK, continues to perform ‘in line with expectations.’
Analysts have said that demand at airports, hospitals and train stations has put WHSmith on course for a near 7% rise in full-year profits to £155m.
The update comes ahead of WHSmith’s full-year results, due in October, shortly before CEO Stephen Clarke steps down on October 31, after six years in role. Under Clarke, the retailer has opened more stores and set up shop in the States after buying America’s largest airport retailer of consumer electronics, InMotion, last year. Shares have almost trebled in value since he became CEO. High street MD Carl Cowling will take over as the new CEO on November 1.