|Master Investor Magazine
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FTSE 250 retailer WH Smith (LON:SMWH) has seen its share price rise by 8.63% to 2,268.18p (as of 12:50 BST) after group revenues rose by 11% during the year ended 31st August. The improvement in sales was driven by the travel division which also saw a 14% improvement in profits while profits from the high street were flat against the prior year.
CEO Stephen Clarke commented: “The Group has delivered another strong performance.
“In our Travel business, we continue to see strong sales growth, up 22%, driven by our UK store investment programme and our expanding international business. Profit for the year, in Travel, was up 14%.
“Internationally we have won a record number of units in the year, including significant wins in the Middle East, Australia and Europe and, more recently, our first WH Smith win in a major US airport. We now have 433 units open internationally, across 30 countries and over 100 airports.
“In our High Street business, we have delivered another good performance. We continue to focus on improving our Stationery offer and this remains our key area of investment. As a result, we delivered a strong ‘Back to School’ period with good growth across many product categories.
“In addition, today we are delighted to announce that we have signed an agreement to acquire Marshall Retail Group, a leading travel retailer in the US. This builds further on our acquisition of InMotion last year and significantly strengthens our growth prospects in the US, the world’s largest travel retail market.
“The Board has proposed an 8% increase in the final dividend reflecting the Group’s cash generation and our confidence in the future prospects of the Group.
“While there is uncertainty in the broader economic and political environment, we are pleased with the start to the new financial year in both businesses. Looking ahead, the Group will continue to focus on profitable growth, cash generation and delivering value for shareholders“.