Sales continue to come under pressure at store group WH Smith

June 11, 2014

Sales at Swindon-headquartered retail group WH Smith have continued to fall, it said today in an update to shareholders. The group also revealed it has nearly £94m of working capital available through a new credit agreement with its banks.

Total group sales in the 14-weeks to June 7 were flat although on a like-for-like basis, which strips out the impact of new store openings, they were down 2% against the same period last year.

While sales rose by 4% at WHSmith Travel, the division operating its outlets in railway stations and airports, on a like-for-like basis they were flat. WH Smith said this reflected the continuing improvement in sales trends.

It said a new store opening programme in the UK and internationally was progressing well and which had improved its gross margin.

However, both total and like-for-like sales in its traditional high street branches fell 4%, although continued cost cutting had pushed up gross margins.

The group said its financial position was in line with market expectations, its balance sheet remained strong and it continued to generate high levels of cash from its operations.

The new £93.3m, five-year committed revolving credit working capital facility announced today has been provided equally by its four relationship banks: Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and Santander UK.


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