WH Smith beats expectations in first half

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WH Smith beats expectations in first half
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FTSE 250 news and books retailer WH Smith (LON:SMWH) has seen its share price rise by 3.18% to 2,206p (as of 12:30 BST) after it announced an 8% increase in revenues for the half year ended 28th February. Revenues from the travel division climbed by 18% and profit growth from that branch of the business also beat expectations. Operations on the high street continued to struggle with drops in both revenue and profits.

CEO Stephen Clarke commented: “The Group has delivered a strong performance in the first half of the financial year.

“In Travel, we continue to see strong sales growth, up 18%, driven by our ongoing investment and initiatives in our UK business and our growing international businesses. As a result, profit in Travel was up 7% in the period.

“The integration of InMotion is progressing well. This acquisition doubles the size of our business outside of the UK where we are now present in 99 airports and 30 countries. We won a further 21 units in the period, including two InMotion units in Australia and Spain, highlighting the potential of this business outside of the US.

“High Street delivered one of our best trading performances in recent years, despite the widely reported challenges facing the UK high street, with LFL sales down 2%. This has been driven by good growth in seasonal stationery ranges including Christmas cards, wrap, diaries, calendars and our latest fashion and art and craft ranges.

“These results are only possible through the hard work of all of our teams across the business and I am sincerely grateful for everyone’s continued support.

“While there is uncertainty in the broader economic and political environment, we have made a good start to the second half of the financial year and the increase in the interim dividend by 8% reflects the Board’s confidence in the outcome for the full year“.

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