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Retail

Retailer WH Smith Revenue Gains On Rapid Recovery In European Summer Travel

British retailer WH Smith said a rapid recovery in travel, especially across Europe, has pushed its second-half revenue 'comfortably' ahead of pre-pandemic levels.

The travel industry has seen a surge in demand for summer travel since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in many countries, leading to disruption at airports and longer waiting times for passengers.

WH Smith, which has stores in travel hubs and sells everything from books, sandwiches to Bluetooth headphones, said it has benefited from the rise in passenger numbers despite the disruptions.

It said that the UK and North America markets continue to perform well and it was seeing signs of recovery across all its other markets as well, with Europe gaining momentum most rapidly and Australia and Asia showing notable improvements.

Travel Business

Revenue at its travel retail business rose 29% in the 26-week period ended August 27, compared with 2019 numbers.

'We continue to make good progress with our store opening programme and we remain in a strong position to benefit from the significant growth opportunities across the global travel retail market,' the group said in a trading statement.

'We have over 130 stores won and yet to open and there are a number of ongoing tenders across our markets. More recently, we are pleased to have won a further six new stores in Brussels airport and further significant wins in North America including at Salt Lake City and Los Angeles International airports. These new store wins demonstrate the capability of the business to win new stores across different formats in a range of geographies.'

High-Street Outlets

Its high-street business, however, remained below pre-pandemic numbers at 80% of 2019 levels for the same period, hit by a cyber incident in April affecting its online greeting card business.

WH Smith said it was looking to save costs at its high-street shops, mainly through rent reductions.

News by Reuters, edited by ESM – your source for the latest retail news. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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