Leader: Never mind the carpets, WHSmith’s Clarke leaves the firmest of foundations

George MacDonald

The state of WHSmith’s carpets might prompt mirth on social media, but there’s nothing shabby about the legacy of departing chief executive Steve Clarke.

Clarke, who hands over the reins to Carl Cowling at the end of this month, is going out with a bang. Accompanying his final set of prelims came the £312m acquisition of US travel stores specialist Marshall Retail.

The deal is a fitting conclusion to Clarke’s tenure, epitomising the direction in which he has taken WHSmith, from British high streets to the world.


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