The retailer has paid£19 million for UNS Hospitals, which runs 72 shops and eight cafés in 62 hospitals. The deal adds to the eight hospital stores WHSmith owns already. The company also signed a franchise agreement to open stores in RoadChef’s 29 service stations after a pilot.
Landsbanki analyst Charles Nichols welcomed the initiatives. “Both of these deals look very sensible and strengthen the company in areas of core competency,” he said.
However, he remains concerned about the longer-term outlook for WHSmith’s core high street division.
Investec analyst David Jeary pointed out that the high street business accounts for a declining share of profits. “Travel, given its generally lower visibility, has not received the plaudits it deserves, although this will hopefully change with the spotlight shone on it by these deals,” he said.