WH Smith trading slightly ahead of expectations thanks to North American revival

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WH Smith PLC (LON:SMWH) said although its businesses continue to be affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, trading is picking up slightly faster than expected.


In the 18 weeks to 3 July, the High Street business’s revenues were running at 86% of the levels seen in the same period of 2019 (i.e. pre-pandemic).


Shops in the travel business – airports, railways stations etc – continue to have a harder time of it with revenues at just 46% of the levels in the comparable period of 2019.


The North American travel business has continued its encouraging recovery, the newsagent said and is trading ahead of management’s expectations. Revenue during the 18 week period was at 74% of 2019 levels with more recent sales, in June, at 88% of 2019 levels. As a result, the North American business is trading ahead of our expectations.


For the group as a whole, revenues were down 38% on the levels seen in the same period of 2019.


“Following the stronger than anticipated performance from our North America business, we anticipate a small improvement to management’s expectations for the current financial year,” the group said in a trading statement.


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