British retailer, WH Smith, announced on Wednesday that its sales during the Christmas period remained upbeat. The retailer highlighted the 20-week period that also included Christmas to have noted a 7% increase in sales. The company also commented that while the hike in sales was primarily confined to outlets at the railway stations and airport, the shopping streets continued to weigh on the retailer in terms of like for like sales.
WH Smith’s Travel Division Revenue Grew By 19%
WH Smith is known to be a leading name in the league of retailers that offer everything from books to Bluetooth headphones to even the sandwiches. In the period that ended recently on January 18th, the company reported a massive 19% gain in its travel division revenue. As per the sources, much of the growth in revenue was attributed to WH Smith’s acquisition of Marshal Retail and InMotion in the U.S.
Owing to the macroeconomic factors like Brexit and global economic slowdown, the weakness in consumer sentiment has hit the retailers hard in 2019. Thanks to a rise in travel, however, the train stations and airports located outlets of WH Smith helped offset the loss to some extent.
Representatives of the British retailer have highlighted that the company is focused on expanding its business in foreign countries while building the reputation of a go-to store for tourists and travelers in the UK. Following the acquisition of Marshall Retail in October 2019, the retailer has doubled its international travel business in size.
Wednesday’s announcement also highlighted that expansion is working impeccably for WH Smith with the retailer already negotiating with as many as eight other U.S stores. The company also announced its plan of opening three new stores in Germany. One of these stores is expected to be for InMotion.
Consumer Spending Fell Sharply In The UK Towards The End Of 2019
During the same period, the company added, like for like revenue and sales and its stationary, newspapers, greeting cards, and magazines business was down 5%. As per the analysts, consumer spending dropped to its worst in over three decades towards the end of 2019 due to the Brexit related uncertainties including the UK’s general election on December 12th.
WH Smith performed upbeat in the stock market in 2019. In January 2019, the stock was seen trading around 1,731 GBX. Gaining over 50% last year, the stock ended 2019 at around 2,650 GBX that also marked a record high for WH Smith.