WH Smith has reported an 8% rise in pre-tax profit for the year ending 31 August, following a strong performance across the group. Profits jumped from £112m the previous year to £121m, while total group revenue grew 1% to £1.18bn.
The books and stationary retailer said that its travel business saw the greatest continued growth, in addition to strong sales across all channels in the UK. The company’s high street business enjoyed a stronger second half in its core stationary and book categories, although high street sales fell 3% on a like-for-like basis.
Overall group profits from trading operations grew by 6% to £139m.
“This performance would not be possible without the ongoing hard work and commitment of all our colleagues across the business and I’m grateful for their continued support,” said CEO Stephen Clarke.
“Looking ahead, our focus will remain on profitable growth, cash generation, investing in new opportunities and evolving our customer proposition, all to ensure we are well positioned for the future.”
In addition to the retailer’s in-store results, WH Smith’s recent partnership with global consultancy Accenture and NetSuite is likely to be part of its continued success. Its latest venture allows wholesale partners across the UK, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Australia to make purchases, manage payments, review account details and order history and request returns and refunds all from a secure online platform. This new system will increase efficiency and enable the execution of better customer service.
David McGrath, Head of Shared IT Services at WH Smith commented “To meet the needs of our customers we needed to develop a world-class business-to-business commerce capability” as well as maintaining profitable physical and online retail spaces.