Revenue gain at WH Smith fails to boost profits

Sales of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars helped revenues at the Irish arm of WH Smith soar last year to €19.29m.

However, new data show the sharp jump in revenues, from €11.6m to €19.29m, in the year to the end of August 31, did not translate into higher pre-tax profits.

Accounts just filed by WH Smith Ireland Ltd show that pre-tax profits fell from €1.54m to €1.5m.

This arose chiefly from administrative expenses and distribution costs jumping from €4.2m to €8.2m.

The main concentration of WH Smith’s stores in Ireland is at Dublin Airport, while it also operates stores at Shannon Airport and at Arnotts.

The rise in revenues followed WH Smith winning the contract to run shops in Dublin Airport’s Terminal One in Augusts 2013.

WH Smith Ireland was also helped by the books market here stabilising, according to figures provided by Nielsen BookScan that show that overall sales here topped €106m in 2014.

The year’s big sellers, books on Roy Keane and Brian O’Driscoll, were published after the end of WH Smith’s financial year.

Staff costs last year increased from €1.18m to €2.32m as the numbers employed by the firm last year rose from 55 to 74. The profit last year takes account of non-cash deprecation costs of €468,049. The firm’s rental payments jumped from €2.68m to €4.3m.

The firm increased its gross profit from €5.7m to €9.74m after the firm’s cost of sales increased from €5.89m to €9.55m.

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