Advertisement

WH Smith reports decline in sales

British retailer WH Smith met analysts' forecasts Wednesday as it reported a decline in sales for the holiday season.

British retailer WH Smith met analysts' forecasts Wednesday as it reported a decline in sales for the holiday season.

The FTSE 250 company, which sells stationary, newspapers and books, said total sales were down 4.0% and like-for-like sales tumbled 5.0% for the 20 weeks to January 20th, according to trading update.

Advertisement - Article continues below

A majority of fall came from the group's High Street stores where sales dropped 5.0% and like-for-like sales declined 5.0%.

However, gross margin improved in the period in line with plan and costs were tightly managed, reflecting the trading conditions, according to the group.

The retailer added that it delivered good profit performance in the period with a margin well managed.

WH Smith ended the period with a strong balance sheet despite the sales drop.

As part of its aim to return up to £50m of cash to shareholders via a share buyback programme, the group purchased 2.48m shares at an average price of £6.38.

"During the period we saw a good profit performance across the group. Margin was well managed and costs were tightly controlled throughout the business," Group Chief Executive, Kate Swann, said.

"Looking ahead, we expect the trading environment to remain challenging however we are a resilient business with a consistent record of both profit growth and cash generation, and are confident in making further progress in the year."

Ahead of the trading update, forecasts in the city suggested the retailer would report decline in like-for-like sales with as much as 5.0% at its High Street stores.

Nevertheless, WH Smith's shares rose more than 5.0% Tuesday after Numis upgraded the stock to add with a target price of 710p.

RD

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/investments/investment-strategy/601044/broker-safety-your-questions-answered
Investment strategy

Broker safety – your questions answered

Cris Sholto Heaton answers more of your questions about the safety of stockbroker accounts
25 Mar 2020
Visit/investments/investment-strategy/600861/how-demographics-affects-stock-valuations
Investment strategy

How demographics affects stock valuations

New research suggests that stock and bond valuations are driven by the age of the population – at least in the US.
24 Feb 2020
Visit/investments/stocks-and-shares/600863/sirius-minerals-anglo-american-takeover
Stocks and shares

Do you own shares in Sirius Minerals? Here’s what you need to do now

Mining giant Anglo American has proposed a cash takeover of Yorkshire-based minnow Sirius Minerals. Unhappy shareholders must decide whether to accept…
20 Feb 2020
Visit/investments/stockmarkets/600634/why-investors-should-be-cautiously-bullish-for-2020
Stockmarkets

Why investors should be “cautiously bullish” for 2020

Analysts have been out in force making rosy predictions for stockmarkets in 2020, but while there is certainly a case for optimism, investors should r…
17 Jan 2020

Most Popular

Visit/economy/uk-economy/601427/covid-bounce-back-loans-and-inflation
UK Economy

What bounce back loans can tell us about how we’ll pay for all this

The government will guarantee emergency "bounce back loans" for small businesses hit by Covid-19. Inevitably, many businesses will default. And there'…
1 Jun 2020
Visit/investments/commodities/601433/commodities-possibly-the-biggest-opportunity-in-todays-markets
Commodities

This looks like the biggest opportunity in today’s markets

With low interest rates and constant money-printing, most assets have become expensive. But one major asset class hasn’t. John Stepek explains why com…
2 Jun 2020
Visit/economy/global-economy/601420/james-ferguson-the-virus-the-lockdown-and-what-comes-next
Global Economy

The MoneyWeek Podcast: James Ferguson on the virus, the lockdown, and what comes next

Merryn talks to MoneyWeek regular James Ferguson of Macrostrategy Partnership about what's happened so far with the virus; whether the lockdown was th…
28 May 2020