News

Group sales down at WHS

Group sales at W H Smith were down 4% like-for-like in the first 10 weeks of its new financial year in comparison to last year, which is in line with market expectations, the company has said.

In the period from 1st September to 10th November, the W H Smith Travel arm performed better than its High Street branches, with like-for-like sales down 4% in Travel and 5% on the High Street. With the latter, "gross margin has increased in line with our plan and costs continue to be managed tightly."

In Travel, W H Smith said its store-opening plan continued to make "good progress" both in the UK and internationally.

"Whilst the current climate continues to be challenging, we remain a resilient business and are well positioned for continued profitable growth," the company said.

Retail analyst Nick Bubb said: "Given £13m of cost-cutting and overseas expansion for Travel, a continuation of that sort of sales trend over the key Xmas period will still drive no worse than flat High Street operating profits of £54m-£55m in year-ending August, with decent profits growth in Travel to £66m-£67m. C.e.o. Kate Swann steps down next summer, but she will be determined to secure her legacy and leave the business in good shape for the future."

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This looks like a continuing story of sales sliding for yet another year. It surely is no surprise. The stores are looking tatty beyond belief, the outlet in Brent Cross was halved in space a year or two ago, and I'm sure that policy of cutting continued in the past year too. But that isn't the worst of it. With ebooks soaring, many being downloaded for free, when authors join Amazon's KDP Select, who needs to buy a book? At least this year there was Fifty Shades together with its me-toos, and even I'm on that bandwagon, but will there be another big hitter next year? A new model for WH Smith needs to be found, because the existing one cannot continue. Darcy Blaze.

http://www.darcyblaze.com/

The Bat says: We love our bookshops here in the north - tatty or otherwise - let's hope they don't start closing shops. With Borders closing their huge store on the Team Valley Gateshead and the massive Waterstones branch in the MetroCentre Gateshead closing this year, WHSmith is the last chain bookshop in the area outside the city centre, to buy a book in County Durham you now have to go to a branch of WHSmith or The Bookcase in Chester le Street - the last remaining independent new bookshop in the whole county...
Ho Hum..

This looks like a continuing story of sales sliding for yet another year. It surely is no surprise. The stores are looking tatty beyond belief, the outlet in Brent Cross was halved in space a year or two ago, and I'm sure that policy of cutting continued in the past year too. But that isn't the worst of it. With ebooks soaring, many being downloaded for free, when authors join Amazon's KDP Select, who needs to buy a book? At least this year there was Fifty Shades together with its me-toos, and even I'm on that bandwagon, but will there be another big hitter next year? A new model for WH Smith needs to be found, because the existing one cannot continue. Darcy Blaze.

http://www.darcyblaze.com/

The Bat says: We love our bookshops here in the north - tatty or otherwise - let's hope they don't start closing shops. With Borders closing their huge store on the Team Valley Gateshead and the massive Waterstones branch in the MetroCentre Gateshead closing this year, WHSmith is the last chain bookshop in the area outside the city centre, to buy a book in County Durham you now have to go to a branch of WHSmith or The Bookcase in Chester le Street - the last remaining independent new bookshop in the whole county...
Ho Hum..