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WH Smith: The star stock shoppers love to hate

Published Wed, 06 Jun 2018 12:31:11 on Interactive Investor

A week after being named the UK's worst high street retailer, WH Smith (SMWH) fired the perfect riposte today with a reminder that it knows a thing or two about success in retail.
Its latest trading update was a trademark WH Smith performance, with a continuation of the profitable growth and strong cash generation that has won it so many fans in the City, if not the love of all high street shoppers.
Shares jumped another 7% on the back of the update, leaving the FTSE 250 Index (MCX) stock within sight of the record high seen at the turn of the year.
The stand-out performer was again the travel division, with growth in passenger numbers at transport hubs helping to offset the slowdown in consumer spending on the high street.
WH Smith's unique positioning at airports, train stations and motorway services meant travel division total sales were an impressive 8% higher, with a 3% rise on a like-for-like basis in the 13 weeks to June 2.

Source: interactive investor Past performance is not a guide to future performance
In contrast, high street like-for-like sales were down 1% as the chain continued with its profit focused strategy. Cost savings have been delivered in line with plan, but one of the side effects of this approach is the inevitable rise in customer complaints about out of date stores or threadbare carpets.
However, WH Smith continues to see a future on the high street and has just extended new store format trials to a further ten... Read more