Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Travellers Point Stationery Group in Right Direction

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Travellers Point Stationery Group in Right Direction

Article excerpt

Byline: Iain Laing

Stationery and books chain WH Smith has said its profits have risen by more than expected after a record performance at its travel-based stores.

The group posted pre-tax profits of pounds 89m in the year to August 31, up 9% on a year earlier and despite a 4% drop in like-for-like sales.

The travel business, which operates from 516 outlets at airports, train stations and motorway service areas, increased operating profits by 10% to pounds 53m after total sales rose 1% and it improved margins.

The record figure came despite pressure on passenger numbers and disruption caused to flights by the Iceland volcano during the spring.

Profits in the high street estate increased by 4% to pounds 51m after the company focused on core trading categories such as stationery and books.

The shift away from lower-margin sales of DVDs and CDs meant like-for-like revenues were down 4% on a like-for-like basis.

The high street business, which has 573 stores, made pounds 12m of cost savings in the year, including from the improved use of technology and following the opening of a new distribution centre in Birmingham. …

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