WHS improves expectations

Travel and High Street revenue rises increase profit hopes as Toys R Us deal unveiled

 

WHSmith has unveiled an upbeat trading statement with a rise in profit expectations from its mix of greeting cards, stationery, books and convenience offer just a day before revealing a tie-up bringing Toys R Us back to the High Street.

Yesterday, 31 May, the 230-year-old retailer reported a 31% rise in revenue from its Travel arm in the 13 weeks to 27 May, and said: “As such, since our announcement on 20 April, our expectations for the full financial year have further improved.”

Above and top: A PR mock-up of the store collaboration including Toys R Us mascot Geoffrey The Giraffe
Above and top: A PR mock-up of the store collaboration including Toys R Us mascot Geoffrey The Giraffe

With its High Street store and online sales also edging up 2% compared to last year, and the store network total revenue up by the same amount, plus UK Travel revenue surging 24% over the period, WHS revealed first quarter group sales were up 23% year-on-year.

Although the retail giant did not provide an outlook range – analysts expect full-year profit before tax to be at £143m – in the trading statement it said: “Looking ahead, the group is in a good position as we approach the peak summer trading period. Trading is strong across all three Travel divisions, and we are very well positioned to capitalise on the substantial growth drivers across our markets.”

Above: WHS’ Curi-o-city concept, such as this one in Kings Cross St Pancras station, is going after Paperchase custom
Above: WHS’ Curi-o-city concept, such as this one in Kings Cross St Pancras station, is going after Paperchase custom

Having recently launched its Curi-o-city retail store concept to go after former Paperchase customers, WHS this morning revealed that Toys R Us will open nine concessions inside its stores over the summer, marking the toy retailer’s return to the High Street after its collapse into administration in 2018, and following on from its new UK website launched ahead of the 2022 Christmas trading period.

The partnership with Toys R Us ANZ will see the first concession open on 10 June at WHSmith Monks Cross Retail Park store in York, followed by Canterbury, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Cwmbran, Oxford, Poole, Reading and Solihull throughout the summer.

Above: The Monks Cross Retail Park store will have the first Toys R Us concession
Above: The Monks Cross Retail Park store will have the first Toys R Us concession

WHS High Street managing director Sean Toal said: “At WHSmith, we’re always exploring new opportunities to launch exciting, new product ranges to our customers on the High Street, and our partnership with Toys R Us certainly does this!

“The brand has long been known for its exceptional range of toys and games and complements our existing offer well.

“Across each of the nine locations, we have a great team of colleagues who look forward to welcoming many new and existing customers over the coming weeks and showcasing the new store layout and, not forgetting, Geoffrey The Giraffe!”

Now owned by WHP Global, Toys R Us generates more than £1.6billion ($2bn) in global retail sales annually through more than 1,350 stores and ecommerce businesses in 31 countries.

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