RNS Number : 4903Y

WH Smith PLC

07 September 2022

WH Smith PLC

Pre-close Trading Update

Strong Q4 Performance - Full Year in Line with Expectations

7 September 2022

Prior to entering its close period ahead of reporting its preliminary results for the twelve months ending 31 August 2022 on 10 November 2022, WH Smith PLC announces the following pre-close update.

We have continued to see a strong performance from Travel in the second half, with Group revenue comfortably in excess of pre-Covid levels.

Total Group revenue as a percentage of 2019 total revenue has been:

                             % of 2019 Revenue(1) 
                   H1    15 weeks    11 weeks     26 weeks 
                            to          to           to 
                          11 June    27 August    27 August 
                           2022        2022         2022 
                  ----  ---------  -----------  ----------- 
 Travel            82%     123%        135%         129% 
                  ----  ---------  -----------  ----------- 
 High Street(2)    86%     79%         82%          80% 
                  ----  ---------  -----------  ----------- 
 Group    84%   107%   117%   112% 

WHSmith Travel

Total revenue in Travel as a percentage of 2019 total revenue has been:

                                % of 2019 Revenue(1) 
                     H1    15 weeks    11 weeks      26 weeks 
                              to          to        to 27 August 
                            11 June    27 August        2022 
                             2022        2022 
                    ----  ---------  -----------  -------------- 
 UK                  71%     104%        112%          108% 
                    ----  ---------  -----------  -------------- 
 North America(3)    91%     111%        116%          113% 
                    ----  ---------  -----------  -------------- 
 Rest of the 
  World(4)           44%     88%         118%          103% 
                    ----  ---------  -----------  -------------- 
 Total Travel(5)    82%   123%   135%   129% 

(1) Equivalent month in 2019; (2) Includes internet businesses; (3) Proforma, constant currency; (4) Constant currency; (5) As reported

Further to the Group's trading update on 15 June 2022, despite some ongoing disruption, our Travel businesses have continued to benefit from the recovery in passenger numbers across all our key travel markets.

As passenger numbers continue to recover, we have delivered strong ATV growth and higher penetration, driven by our ongoing strategy to significantly enhance our ranges and develop our categories, such as health and beauty and technology.

In the UK, our business is performing strongly and similarly North America continues to show good momentum. Rest of the World has been slower to recover but we are now seeing good growth across all our markets, with the strongest recovery in Europe and, more recently, notable improvements in Australia and Asia.

We continue to make good progress with our store opening programme and we remain in a strong position to benefit from the significant growth opportunities across the global travel retail market. We have over 130 stores won and yet to open and there are a number of ongoing tenders across our markets. More recently, we are pleased to have won a further 6 new stores in Brussels airport and further significant wins in North America including at Salt Lake City and Los Angeles International airports. These new store wins demonstrate the capability of the business to win new stores across different formats in a range of geographies.

WHSmith High Street

Our High Street business is performing in line with expectations. Sales in the second half were adversely impacted following the previously announced disruption to our online greeting card business, funkypigeon.com. In our High Street business, we continue to focus on cost efficiencies and the return on space. We have identified further significant cost saving opportunities, most notably through reductions in rent.

Full Year Result

WH Smith PLC expects the outcome for the year to 31 August 2022 to be in line with the upgraded expectations which followed the third quarter trading update on 15 June 2022.

2022 Preliminary Results

The WH Smith PLC preliminary results investor and analyst presentation for the year ending 31 August 2022 will be held on Thursday 10 November 2022.


WH Smith PLC

Mark Boyle Investor Relations 07879 897687

Nicola Hillman Media Relations 01793 563354


Tim Danaher 020 7404 5959

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 07, 2022 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT)

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