WH Smith reports profits rise after 'strong performance'

WH Smith store front Image copyright PA

WH Smith, the stationery and bookstore chain, has reported a rise in full-year profits after a "strong performance".

Pre-tax profits for the year to 31 August were £112m, up 9% on the previous year.

The company also announced an additional share buyback of "up to £50m".

However, group like-for-like sales, which strip out the effect of new store openings, fell 3%.

Group chief executive Stephen Clarke said: "The Group has delivered a strong performance with EPS [earnings per share] up 18% year on year."

The retailer's travel division - stores located mainly in airports, railway stations, motorway service areas and hospitals - experienced a "record year", with profits up 11% to £73m, Mr Clarke said.

As the business was "highly cash generative", WH Smith felt able to extend its share buy back scheme by up to £50m.

It completed an earlier £50m return of cash to shareholders on 13 October.

WH Smith also increased its full-year total dividend by 14% to 35p.

The company aims to cut costs by £21m over the next three years.

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