WHSmith hails “better than expected” trading since January

WHSmith hails
WHSmith's travel division - once the star of its trading channels -  continued to be adversely impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.
// WHSmith says sales in its high street division hit 74% of January 2019 levels and 84% of February 2019 levels
// These are both ahead of previous forecasts
// WHSmith now expects monthly cash burn between January-March to be £12-£17m, compared to £15-£20m it had previously estimated

WHSmith has hailed a “better than expected” trading performance since January as online demand helped bolster its overall sales.

The retailer said sales in its high street division hit 74 per cent of January 2019 levels and 84 per cent of February 2019 levels – with both figures being ahead of previous forecasts.

WHSmith said trading was boosted by “significant growth” in ecommerce sales, which forms part of the retailer’s high street division.


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WHSmith’s online greeting cards fascia, Funky Pigeon, also booked record sales over the Valentine’s Day period.

Meanwhile, the retailer’s travel division – once the star of WHSmith’s trading channels –  continued to be adversely impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.

In the first two months of the year, revenues in that division hit just 35 per cent of January 2019 levels and 33 per cent in February.

WHSmith now expects monthly cash burn between January and March to be about £12 million to £17 million, compared with a range of £15 million to £20 million it had estimated earlier.

The retailer also said it had extended the maturity of its two existing £200 million loans until October 2023, and agreed on a new minimum liquidity covenant with its lenders for both the August 2021 and February 2022 tests.

WHSmith said this means it could cancel an existing £120 million loan, which had been undrawn and was due to expire in November.

WHSmith is slated to publish the full details on sales and profits in its half-year results on April 29.

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