WH Smith has announced a 9% increase in full-year profits this morning.
Pre-tax, pre-exceptional profits for the year to 31 August were £89m, with the travel retail business producing a record operating profit of £53m.
Total sales for the year were down 2%, with like for likes down 4%. Within that, the travel business continued to outperform the high street with total sales up 1% and like for likes down 2%. In the high street business both figures were down 4%, but the company said it had identified a further £13m of cost savings in the business on top of £12m delivered this year.
The company announced plans to return £50m of cash to shareholders through a share buyback programme, and increased the final dividend 18% to 13.3p.
Stationery performed well while the book and magazine markets were soft. The company completed its exit from the music and multimedia categories during the year.
The travel business continues to expand into new channels, with eight workplace stores now open and a further 40 envisaged in the next five years. An additional 50 hospital units are planned in the same period, building on the 103 already opened, while further international growth is also planned, with units in Oman and Mumbai due to open on a franchise basis, along with four company owned stores in Australia.