WHSmith to restructure high street approach

Published on: October 11th, 2018

Citing a tough retail environment, the retailer is set to restructure its operational activities and close several high street stores.  

As reported by Reuters, books, newspaper and stationery retailer WHSmith has announced that it plans to restructure its high street business, shoring up its operations as retailers face lower consumer spending and lingering economic uncertainties.

WHSmith, which operates 839 travel outlets and 607 high street stores in the UK, said it would wind down non-core trial initiatives including Cardmarket and WHSmith Local, restructure some operational activities and close around six high street stores.

The company also said group pretax profit declined 4% to £134m in the year ended August. High street trading profit fell 3% to £60m.

“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,” Chief executive officer Stephen Clarke said in a statement.

Total revenue from the high street business was down 3% with comparable sales also falling 3%.

Competition from online retailers has left many high street firms struggling, and traditional bricks-and-mortar clothing retailers like Marks & Spencer and Debenhams have seen profits slump and are closing stores.

The problems on the high street have contrasted with a brighter outlook for the WHSmith’s travel business, which sells items such as snacks and newspapers at various locations including airports and railway stations at home and abroad.

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