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WH Smith Plc

WH Smith Plc Strong trading performance across the Group with profits in line with expectations

WH Smith Plc (LON:SMWH), today announced interim results for the six months ended 28 February 2019.

Overview

· Group revenue up 8% with Group like-for-like* revenue up 1%

· Travel total revenue up 18% (up 8% excluding InMotion) and up 3% on a like-for-like basis

· Strong profit growth in Travel with profit up 7% to £44m (2018: £41m). Expect continued strong profit growth in second half – slightly ahead of expectations

· Integration of InMotion progressing well. International Travel now has 425 units open

· High Street total revenue down 1% with like-for-like revenue down 2%, our second best sales performance in the past decade

· High Street profit in line with expectations at £48m (2018: £50m). Full year profit expected to be in line with last year with continued profit growth in the second half

· Non-underlying costs* in the half relate to the acquisition of InMotion (£9m) and completion of the review in High Street announced in October 2018 (£7m)

· Interim dividend increased by 8%. Share buyback of £25m in the half

Group Financial Summary

6 months to

Feb

2019

6 months to

Feb

2018

 

%

change

Travel trading profit*

High Street trading profit*

Group profit from trading operations*

£44m

£48m

£92m

 

£41m

£50m

£91m

7%

(4)%

1%

Headline Group profit before tax*

Headline earnings per share*

 

£81m

60.6p

£82m

60.9p

(1)%

-%

Non-underlying costs*

 

£16m

Statutory profit before tax

Diluted earnings per share

 

£65m

46.8p

£82m

60.9p

(21)%

(23)%

Interim dividend per share

 

17.2p

16.0p

8%

 

Revenue Performance

£m

Total

LFL

Travel

364

18%

3%

High Street

          331

(1)%

(2)%

Group

695

8%

1%

Stephen Clarke, Group Chief Executive, commented:

“The Group has delivered a strong performance in the first half of the financial year.

“In Travel, we continue to see strong sales growth, up 18%, driven by our ongoing investment and initiatives in our UK business and our growing international businesses. As a result, profit in Travel was up 7% in the period.

“The integration of InMotion is progressing well. This acquisition doubles the size of our business outside of the UK where we are now present in 99 airports and 30 countries. We won a further 21 units in the period, including two InMotion units in Australia and Spain, highlighting the potential of this business outside of the US.

“High Street delivered one of our best trading performances in recent years, despite the widely reported challenges facing the UK high street, with LFL sales down 2%. This has been driven by good growth in seasonal stationery ranges including Christmas cards, wrap, diaries, calendars and our latest fashion and art and craft ranges.

“These results are only possible through the hard work of all of our teams across the business and I am sincerely grateful for everyone’s continued support.

“While there is uncertainty in the broader economic and political environment, we have made a good start to the second half of the financial year and the increase in the interim dividend by 8% reflects the Board’s confidence in the outcome for the full year.”