WHSmith revenues drop 74% due to lockdown

WHSmith covid-19 carl cowling
WHSmith is currently trading online, with ecommerce sales rising by 400% in April
// WHSmith sales drop 85% year-on-year in April
// Airport and train station stores saw revenues tumble 91%
// High street stores’ revenues dropped 74%

WHSmith has seen its sales plummet, particularly at its airport and train station shops as the coronavirus lockdown continues to affect the business.

The British retailer said revenue in April dropped by 85 per cent year-on-year, as sales made through its growing portfolio of airport and train station stores declined by a colossal 91 per cent.

Revenues from the retailer’s high street locations was down 74 per cent during the same month.


Meanwhile, the “vast majority” of WHSmith’s travel stores are temporarily closed amid the pandemic, which has resulted in a “significant decline in passenger numbers”.

The retailer operates from 130 stores inside UK hospitals, as well as 203 high street locations that include Post Offices.

WHSmith is currently trading online, with ecommerce sales rising by 400 per cent during the past month as book sales increase thanks to the lockdown.

Chief executive Carl Cowling thanked the retailer’s “resilient and versatile business” and maintained that the group has “a strong position to navigate this time of uncertainty”.

WHSmith provided the coronavirus trading update alongside its half-year results, covering the six months to February 29 – before the virus took hold in the UK.

For the six months to February 29 – which was prior to the lockdown – WHSmith said its revenue increased by seven per cent, with its travel business’ revenue rising by 19 per cent.

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  1. I thought, as you previously reported, that W H Smith lent / co-operated in joint trading with supermarkets including Sainsbury’s to turn many of their 130 shops in hospitals (that you acknowledge the existence of) into mini grocers – That should have been a central point within this article to give balance and to show that they successfully pivoted their business. Without that fact, the mere fact that “shops are closed with no customers during the lockdown” is not news and is rather pointless!


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