WH Smith sees Irish revenues grow to record levels

Revenues at the Irish arm of bookseller WH Smith hit record levels of €26.85m last year.

WH Smith sees Irish revenues grow to record levels

However, newly-filed accounts for WH Smith Ireland also show a weakening in profits for the 12 months to the end of last August.

In the period, the company generated pre-tax profits of €1.1m; down nearly 39% from the €1.8m generated in the previous year.

The company attributed the drop in profit to expansion costs, with the number of people employed by the business increasing from 87 to 107 and staff costs going up from €2.59m to €2.83m.

WH Smith won the contract to run shops in Dublin Airport’s Terminal One in August 2013 and the the company benefited from the record 27.9 million passengers who passed through the airport in 2016.

The business was also helped by the Irish book market growing in 2016.

According to Nielsen, the year’s big sellers included Louise O’Neill’s Asking For It, Ross O’Carroll-Kelly’s Game of Throw-Ins and Anne Enright’s The Green Road.

Sales at WH Smith Ireland also benefited during the year under review from big sales for Until Victory Always by Jim McGuinness; Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín and Joe Duffy’s Children of the Rising.

The profit last year takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of €465,566.

The firm’s rental payments jumped from €5.34m to €6.1m.

Its shareholder funds at the end of August last year totalled €4.84m. The firm’s cashpile halved, going from €6.4m to €3.3m.

It recorded post-tax profits of €978,111m after incurring a tax charge of €136,304.

The company’s distribution costs totalled €10.6m and it reported €976,596 in administrative expenses. It increased its gross profit from €11.92m to €12.7m.

In 2009, WH Smith opened its first two shops at Shannon Airport before opening its outlets in Dublin Airport.

The company’s strong performance here last year offers further confirmation of the benefits to UK booksellers of expanding into Ireland.

Earlier this month, Waterstones Ireland reported that it had doubled its profits to €1.9m as revenues increased by 7% to €14.2m in the 12 months to the end of April last.

As a result, Waterstones chief executive James Daunt said that the firm is to re-invest in its Irish shops and is ready to expand again.

“We are just beginning to look at properties and any expansion will be a local initiative,” he said.

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