WH Smith expects sales to scale their pre-Covid 19 levels in the current fiscal year, the retailer said this month, as it posted a smaller annual loss, owing to a recovery in North America and Britain's high streets from the pandemic fallout.
The company, whose stores in travel hubs sell books, stationery and other items, also said it was well-positioned to return to a 'meaningful profit' in 2022.
Greeting Card And Gift Business
WH Smith said its funkypigeon.com greeting card and gift business showed a record performance in the 12-month period ended August, just ahead of the holiday season.
"Across our digital channels over the medium-term we expect to see strong growth, particularly from funkypigeon.com, and we are well-positioned to grow this platform further," said WH Smith, which currently has 1,540of its 1,711 stores open around the world.
Annual pretax loss at the company, which had to cut jobs and raise money through a bond offering to get through the health crisis, came in at £55 million ($74.44 million), compared with a loss of £69 million a year earlier.
On 1 September, the British retailer reported that its 2022 profit is likely to be at the lower end of market expectations, as a slow and uncertain recovery in global tourism squeezes its stores in travel hubs such as airports and train stations.
The company's 2022 pretax profit was expected to be in the range of £70 million to £135 million ($96-186 million), according to a company-compiled consensus of analysts estimates.
However, WH Smith says that a quicker recovery in its North American travel stores in the last two months means that the group's 2021 performance will be slightly better than market expectations of a pretax loss of £68 million.