WH Smith plans to open 110 new shops globally

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WH Smith, the popular stationer, has announced plans to open 110 new shops this year in airports, railway stations, and hospitals. With over 580 sites already in various global travel locations, this expansion will further solidify WH Smith's position as a leading global travel retailer.

Focus on the US market

Out of the 110 new shops, more than 50 will be in the US, where WH Smith sees significant growth opportunities. UK travel sales grew by 15% in the 20 weeks leading up to January, but it's the US market that holds the potential for the chain to flourish.

Strong position in travel locations

WH Smith benefits from a captive customer base in key sites such as railway stations, motorway services, hospitals, and airports. The return of near-normality in air travel has been particularly beneficial for the company, contributing to its robust performance in the global travel retail sector.

Challenges on the UK high street

While WH Smith's travel business is thriving, the UK high street sales have experienced a decline of 4%. To address this, the company aims to cut costs of up to £10 million. However, experts believe that as long as people continue to buy magazines, stationery, and other products, WH Smith's high street shops have a good chance of survival.

Wickes sees a boost in trade demand

DIY chain Wickes saw its shares climb by 9% after announcing improved trade demand and better-than-expected profits. Despite a slight overall fall of 0.3% in sales in 2023, CEO David Wood praised the company's robust performance. Sales were impacted by lower demand for larger projects and IT disruption.

On The Beach experiences strong holiday value growth

Holiday firm On The Beach reported a significant increase of more than a quarter in the value of holidays last year, with long-haul operations performing well. The total transaction value rose by 86% compared to the previous year, which is expected to help the company achieve profits of £30 million. CEO Shaun Morton highlighted that consumers continue to prioritize holidays despite challenging times.

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