Ticker SMWH

Today's data summary

Market open
% change
Price Pence
As of 16:05 26 Mar 2019
Market cap. Pound sterling
2,284.26 million
As of 16:05 26 Mar 2019

Latest updates

WH Smith travel 'masterstroke'

"WH Smith continued the theme we’ve been seeing for some time. The High Street division is suffering but it’s been more than made up for by an excellent performance in travel," says Neil Wilson, chief Market Analyst for Markets.com.

"Underinvestment in the rather sorry High Street side of the business should not detract from the fact that WH Smith is building a strong brand in travel that has significant room to grow overseas.

"This significantly reduces its exposure to the ailing UK High Street – a strategy that increasingly looks like a masterstroke. While High Street footfall is coming off, global air travel passenger growth is only growing rapidly. This leaves WH Smith well positioned for the next few years."

WH Smith 'well positioned' despite flat sales

WH Smith store
WH Smith

Newsagent-to-travel agent WH Smith has seen total sales grow by 6% in the 20 weeks to 19 January.

Overall like-for-like sales were flat, with travel sales up and High Street sales down.

Commenting on today's announcement, Stephen Clarke, Group Chief Executive said: "Looking ahead, whilst there is existing uncertainty in the broader economic environment, the group is well positioned for the year ahead and beyond."

Good morning!

Welcome to Business Live and a busy day ahead.

It's day two of the World Economic Forum at the Swiss resort of Davos and we'll be bringing you the big names to watch on Wednesday shortly.

It is also the day after the collapse of the Patisserie Valerie which has put 3,000 jobs at risk.

Results-wise, Burberry will give its update on Christmas trading at 7.00am. WH Smith and JD Wetherspoon will also report.

As always, we'd love to hear from you. Email Business Live at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk

WH Smith shares dive 11%

Shares in WH Smith have slumped 11% after the retailer reported a 4% dip in profits for the year.

"The retailer cited a difficult trading environment, and the restructuring of its high street business for the fall in earnings," says David Madden of CMC Markets.

"The firm has decided to close Cardmarket and WH Smith Local. The company is going to focus more on the travel division – which saw annual profit jump by 7%.

"It is worth noting the UK had a great year in terms of tourism, and that was a contributing factor to WH Smith’s success too."

However, he notes, despite being voted the "worst high street retailer" earlier this year, "sales aren’t too bad".

WH Smith a 'rare beast'

Exterior of WH Smith store
WH Smith

WH Smith is a rare beast among the UK High Street names in that it’s delivering continued underlying profit growth. But that performance masks the fact Smith’s High Street division is facing some pretty tough challenges. Sales continue to slide, and six stores are due to close. However, there are two reasons investors can be optimistic. Cost control has been impressive in those High Street outlets, and the travel business continues to deliver impressive results.

George SalmonEquity analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown

Railway and airport shops boost WH Smith

WH Smith branch at station
WH Smith

WH Smith has a "fast growing" international business with 286 units open across 27 countries and 50 airports.

In its results statement, it said it had won deals to open 42 new units this year including some "significant tenders" in South America and Europe.

Boss Stephen Clarke said the group had "delivered a good performance".

"Travel accounts for over half our sales and two thirds of our profits and continues to perform strongly with revenue growth of 8% in the year. This performance has been driven by our ongoing investment in stores and growth in passenger numbers."

WH Smith cashes in on slime

Slime product in child's hands
Getty Images

WH Smith chief executive Stephen Clarke said the retailer had a good year "despite the well documented challenges of the UK High Street".

A driving factor was it had "quickly identified the latest trend in the market, becoming a one-stop-shop for all slime related products", he said. Children's slime toys have become a popular trend in recent years.

"Despite this good performance, we are not ignoring the broader challenges on the UK High Street and, during the second half, we conducted a business review to ensure our High Street business is fit for purpose now and for the future," Mr Clark said.