Belfast Telegraph

Hospitals are a big source of income for WH Smith

Patients and visitors are heading to WH Smith's hospital stores in record numbers, making them more popular than the newsagent's train station sites, the company has revealed
Patients and visitors are heading to WH Smith's hospital stores in record numbers, making them more popular than the newsagent's train station sites, the company has revealed

By Simon Neville

Patients and visitors are heading to WH Smith's hospital stores in record numbers, making them more popular than the newsagent's train station sites, the company has revealed.

Bosses said hospital stores are now the second largest division in its travel business - after airports - and are helping to keep profits in line with expectations.

In its high street division, the retailer also revealed that strong sales of high-margin stationery have helped, with bosses planning to roll out more ranges.

The company also highlighted the strength of its Post Office business, with 202 WH Smith stores now hosting them.

Internationally, the company said its new US travel accessory business - InMotion - continues to grow strongly with 428 stores open outside the UK.

WH Smith bought InMotion last year for £155m, marking its first foray into the US accessory market.

The deal dragged down half-year profits 21% to £65m in the six months to the end of February, including a £9m hit from the purchase.

But bosses remain confident, pointing out it now has three InMotion stores outside North America: in Perth, Australia; Alicante, Spain; and Leeds Bradford Airport in the UK.

The company added: "We see further opportunities to grow our news, books and convenience format in the international travel retail market, where we have a small market share."

Yesterday's announcement comes ahead of the company's full-year results, which are due out in October.

Belfast Telegraph

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