// Hospital branches are now the second biggest money-maker in WHSmith’s travel division
// This means it makes more money that its train station-based stores
// WHSmith also said its UK-focused high street business continued to perform “in line with expectations”
WHSmith has revealed that its hospital branches are now the second biggest money-maker in its travel division, making them more popular than train station sites.
The retailer said profits for the year ending August 31 will be in line with expectations, with strong growth in its international travel divisions.
WHSmith said its stores located within hospital premises have become the second biggest money-maker in its travel division – after airports – with patients and visitors flocking to its stores.
In its high street arm, the retailer revealed that strong sales of high-margin stationery have helped, with bosses planning to roll out more ranges and offer up more shop floor space to the pens and pads.
It also said its UK-focused high street business continued to perform “in line with expectations”.
The company also highlighted the strength of its Post Office business, with 202 WHSmith stores now hosting them.
WHSmith bosses also said its purchase of US travel accessory retail chain InMotion for £155 million last year is performing well, with 428 stores now open outside the UK.
However, the InMotion acquisition dragged down half-year profits by 21 per cent to £65 million in the six months to the end of February, including a £9 million hit from the purchase.
Despite this, WHSmith remained upbeat and revealed it has also opened three InMotion stores outside of its North American base in Perth, Australia; Alicante, Spain; and Leeds Bradford Airport in the UK.
“We see further opportunities to grow our news, books and convenience format in the international travel retail market, where we have a small market share,” the retailer stated.
Today’s update comes ahead of WHSmith’s full-year results, which are due out in October.