WH Smith not ruling out Irish expansion

British retailer WH Smith has not ruled out further expansion in the Irish market after seeing profits in its travel division rise by 10% in its latest financial year.

The news, book, and stationery seller is one of the main players on British streets.

In Ireland, its business comes under its travel arm, which covers outlets in airports and train stations.

While the business does not break out Irish figures in its group results, annual figures for the 12 months to the end of August published yesterday show that trading profit for the travel division jumped almost 10%, to £80m (€109m).

Total group revenue (taking in main street shops and international sales) grew marginally to £1.18bn, while pre-tax profit was up by 8% at £121m.

WH Smith has 14 shops in the north and south of Ireland. Its presence in the Republic notable in Dublin and Shannon airports, while it also has an office supply concession in Arnotts department store in Dublin.

Speculation has been rife that the company has been hoping to expand into train station locations here, but a spokesperson yesterday declined to comment about specific expansion plans for the Irish market, only saying that management is “always looking at opportunities”.

Group CEO Stephen Clarke hailed a good performance across the entire group, yesterday.

Last available accounts for WH Smith Ireland Ltd, published in March and covering the 12 months to the end of August 2014, showed a slight fall in pre-tax profits from €1.54m to €1.5m, but a 66% jump in revenues to €19.29m.


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