WHSmith aiming for 150 new stores worldwide

12th December 2022 | Jack Oliver

Stationers and travel retailer WHSmith says it aims to open 150 new stores worldwide, as it records a profit of £73m for 2022, clawing back from losses made in the last two years.

The business saw losses of £69m and £55m in 2020 and 2021 respectively. However profits are still below pre-Covid levels of £155m recorded in 2019.

The retailer also saw an increase in revenue to £1.4bn, up from £886m last year.

WHSmith’s travel retail revenue of £927m leapfrogged sales from high street branches, which were £473m, slightly lower than 2021 numbers.

This swing is likely to be caused by the easing of travel restrictions and more customer confidence in the travel sector, as the effects of the Omicron variant were alleviated. Meanwhile, the cost-of-living crisis and higher inflation has taken a toll on many high street sales.

The retailer continues its international expansion, now operating over 290 stores in the United States.

Carl Cowling, group chief executive, said: “We have opened 98 new stores in the year and we have a
pipeline of 150 new stores yet to open across 16 countries and in airports as varied as Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Brussels, Oslo and Melbourne.”

“Our North America business is set to become larger than our UK High Street business and we see significant opportunities to grow this business further”, he added.


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