W H Smith boosted by travel stores ahead of full year results

W H Smith boosted by travel stores ahead of full year results

W H Smith has been boosted by a "strong performance" of its travel stores as the retailer says it expects full year results to be in line with expectations, ahead of c.e.o. Stephen Clarke's departure

In a brief pre-close trading statement, W H Smith highlighted "good sales" in its travel division. "Gross margin is in line with plan and our new store opening programme is on track both in the UK and internationally," said the report. 

International continues to "grow strongly" with 428 stores open outside the UK, including three InMotion stores outside North America. W H Smith bought the US airport travel retailer in October 2018. 

The High Street business continues to perform in line with expectations as the chain's plans to refit its post office stores with a bigger emphasis on books takes hold. 

"Consistent with our profit focused strategy, cost savings and margin improvements have been delivered in line with plan. 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," the update added. 

Analysts expects W H Smith to announce headline pre-tax profits of £151m (2018: £134m), according to IBES data by Refinitiv, when the full year results to 31st August 2019 are announced by outgoing chief executive Clarke on 17th October. Clarke will step down, after six years as c.e.o., on 31st October, with High Street m.d. Carl Cowling taking on the role the next day.