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WHSmith plans restructure, 1500 redundancies

In the UK, bookselling chain WHSmith has announced plans for a restructure that could lead to 1500 roles made redundant across the business, reports the Bookseller.

In a trading update, the company said it is reviewing stores in its Travel and High Street businesses due to reduced passenger numbers and lower footfall in towns and cities. WHSmith’s total revenue was down 57% in July, compared to the same time last year, with High Street down 25% and Travel down 73%. Total revenue was down 83% in April, 82% in May and 69% in June.

The proposed restructure, which is out for consultation, would save the company in the region of £15 million to £19 million (A$27.3m to A$34.6m).

CEO Carl Cowling said Covid-19 ‘continues to have a significant impact on the WHSmith Group’.

‘In our Travel business, while we are beginning to see early signs of recovery in some of our markets, the speed of recovery continues to be slow,’ said Cowling. ‘At the same time, while there has been some progress in our High Street business, it does continue to be adversely affected by low levels of footfall. As a result, we now need to take further action to reduce costs across our businesses.’

The company is forecasting a loss of between £70 million and £75 million (A$127.6m to A$136.7m) before tax for the financial year ending 31 August.

WHSmith operates 56 stores in Australia, of which 28 are currently trading.

 

Category: International news