WHSmith sees like-for-like decline

UK stationer, newsagent and entertainment retailer WHSmith has said that like-for-like sales at its High Street stores fell seven per cent for the 20 weeks ending January 17th compared to the same period one year ago.

Overall like-for-like sales, which include the businesses’ online arm, fell by five per cent. The performance of the chain’s entertainment arm, including its DVD, CD and games business, was amongst the low-lights, accounting for four per cent of the dip.

As anticipated, trading conditions on the high street were challenging over the Christmas period,” WHSmith group chief executive Kate Swann stated. However, we continue to successfully deliver our strategy and maintain operational flexibility, increasing gross margins and accelerating our cost reduction plans.

We are pleased with the progress in our travel business, despite the expected weaker passenger numbers in air. Looking ahead, we expect consumer spending in our markets to remain subdued and we have planned accordingly.”

WHSmith is one of the retailer’s affected by the fallout of the collapse of Woolworths-owned games distributor EUK. The chain has previously told MCV that its stock supply remains strong, but reports of empty shelves where games and DVDs used to be found continue to filter in.

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