arrow_back_ios Back View more articles

Travel business boosts WH Smith revenues by 28 per cent

Retailer WH Smith said today (Wednesday) its annual revenue jumped 28 per cent from a year ago, boosted by strong demand during a busy summer travel season.

The Swindon-based retail giant, which began life in railway stations, said “much stronger passenger numbers in the second half of our 2022 financial year compared to the first half of 2022” had contributed to the revenue boost.

“We have seen a strong performance from Travel in the second half, as passenger numbers continue their positive trajectory,” it told investors.

“In the UK, we saw continued strength in air passenger numbers in the peak holiday season, building on the recovery in passenger numbers that we saw in the second half of the previous financial year.

“Our rail channel has been resilient in view of the ongoing industrial action impacting rail.”

Hospitals were another source of growing revenue for the group. Of the 20 stores it opened last year, eight were in hospitals. “Our hospital channel is performing well,” said the group.”

The strategy of concentrating of travel hubs and hospitals over high street stores was started by former CEO Steve Clarke.

At the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Economic Partnership Growth Summit in 2019, the boss told delegates he had decided not to take on Amazon.

“And rather than spend hundreds of millions of pounds on a website, we invested in train stations and airports, both here and outside the UK,” he said.

“Digital first may be right for many businesses, but not for WH Smith.”

Pictured: WH Smith at Heathrow Terminal 2