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WH Smith from UK expects slight performance improvement in 2021



A company logo is pictured outside a branch of WH Smith in Manchester, northern England on March 17, 2016. REUTERS / Phil Noble / File Photo

  • Travel and high street business income show recovery
  • North American Travel Trade Exceeds Expectations
  • UK airport deal creates ‘significant’ new presence -JPMorgan
  • Equities up almost 1%

July 8 (Reuters) – UK retailer WH Smith (SMWH.L) expects a slight improvement in performance in the current fiscal year after stronger than expected business activity in North America, has t he said Thursday.

The FTSE-250-listed company said it has signed deals for 18 tech accessory stores at major UK airports, including Heathrow and Stansted, which are expected to generate around £ 60million ($ 82.65million) in sales annuals in a fully recovered travel environment. [PnNDL9DrQ9L]

The retailer of books, travel accessories and tech at stations, airports and workplace kiosks added it would spend around £ 15million on the new stores in fiscal year 2022 , which would be marketed under the InMotion brand that it uses in North America.

Analysts at JP Morgan Cazenove said the in-store wins create a significant new presence for WH Smith in the UK technology travel accessory market, which could provide the company with new opportunities to expand InMotion in the country and through Europe.

The brokerage also noted that all but one of the 18 stores were stores of Dixons Carphone Plc (DC.L), which in April decided to close its airport stores, after a program allowing purchases was removed. excluding VAT for foreign tourists.

WH Smith said Thursday he continued to be affected by the slowdown in his travel business, but was seeing an “encouraging recovery” in North America, where June sales picked up to about 88% of sales. 2019 levels.

Overall, revenue from its travel business, which includes shops and kiosks at airports and train stations, reached 48% of 2019 levels in the 18 weeks to July 3, up from 34% in the second trimester.

The two-century-old company also said high street income reached 86% of 2019 levels in the 18 weeks leading up to July 3, but attendance continued to be below pre-pandemic levels.

WH Smith, hit hard by the pandemic due to travel restrictions and work-from-home mandates, warned in April of the possible risk of violating his engagement tests in 2022 after recording a loss in the first half of the year.

He said on Thursday that his liquidity position was strong and that he would continue to focus on reducing cash consumption, which stood at around £ 2million per month over the March to June period.

WH Smith shares rose 0.8% to 16.62 pounds in morning trading.

($ 1 = 0.7260 lb)

Report by Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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