Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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WHSmith posts £69 million loss

UK book chain WHSmith has recorded a £69 million (A$125m) headline loss in preliminary results announced for the year ended 31 August.

The company made a £31 million (A$56m) group loss from trading operations, after making a £177 million (A$321m) profit in 2019. This included a £27 million (A$49m) loss in its travel division and a £4 million (A$7.25m) loss in its high street division.

Group revenue was down 27% to £1.02 billion (A$1.85b) (a like-for-like drop of 33%, accounting for changes in accounting practices)—with its travel division down 32% (43% like-for-like) and its high street division down 19%.

Group chief executive Carl Cowling said the performance of the business has been ‘heavily impacted by the pandemic’. ‘While passenger numbers continue to be significantly impacted in the UK, our North American business, where 85% of passengers are domestic, is beginning to see some encouraging signs of recovery,’ said Cowling. ‘In addition, we continue to open new stores in the US and win significant tenders across major US airports.’

‘We have a robust plan across all our businesses focusing on cost management and initiatives within our control which support us in the immediate term and position us well to emerge stronger as our markets recover.’

As previously reported by Books+Publishing, in August WHSmith announced plans for a restructure leading to up to 1500 job losses across the business. WHSmith’s operations include 56 stores in Australia.


Category: International news