Analysis: WHSmith takes off with transformational travel deal

MRG storefront posters 08.16.1910 (002)

WHSmith’s travel business should soar even higher following a landmark US deal.

Alongside full-year results – showing a 9% rise in group trading profit to £177m, driven by an 11% uplift in group revenue to £1.4bn – the famous British brand revealed the $400m acquisition of US travel retailer Marshall Retail Group (MRG).

As chief executive Stephen Clarke exits the company after 15 years, including six at the helm, it was a farewell souvenir that typified his time in charge. He will be succeeded by former WHSmith travel managing director Carl Cowling, who led the MRG deal.

WHSmith has been expanding its travel retail business for some time. It now accounts for two-thirds of group profit, so it is clear why the retailer seeks to further build the division.

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