WHSmith has announced that it will open 18 new airport stores under its InMotion fascia.

The retailer said it has won new leases in key airports such as Heathrow, Stansted, Manchester and Birmingham.

Computer-generated artist impression of new InMotion WHSmith stores in UK airports

The new stores will trade as InMotion, WHSmith’s US brand selling a range of tech and accessories from brands such as Apple and Samsung.

WHSmith said that when travel has fully recovered, it expects these stores to deliver sales of around £60m per year. 

The move comes after Dixons Carphone announced in April that it would be closing its travel business Dixons Travel due to a lack of sufficient customer numbers, leaving a gap in airports for a technology retailer.

WHSmith also recorded the beginnings of a recovery in UK travel – now at 48% of 2019 levels in the 18 weeks to July 3 –while its US and European businesses have fared better as more restrictions are eased.

The retailer said in a statement: “Our strategy to focus on customer conversion and increasing average transaction values continues to progress well.  

“In air, we continue to plan cautiously as we await further government guidance on air travel.  

“In our hospital channel, we continue to see an improved performance as hospitals return to general medical care. 

“Rail has continued to improve as leisure traffic has increased and more people have returned to office working. 

“Going forward, we see further opportunities to win additional WHSmith stores in airports and hospitals, and we are well positioned as travel markets recover and passenger numbers increase.”

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