WH Smith scraps dividend as it swings to loss

WH Smith (LON: SMWH) has posted a pre-tax loss of £280m and scrapped its dividend.

The retailer posted a 33% fall in revenue in the year to the end of August to £1bn.

WH Smith said on Thursday that it plans to close another 25 shops after the group swung to a loss from a £180m profit last year.

The group has been particularly affected by the closure of travel sites and a slump in passenger numbers at airports and train stations.

Revenue at travel sites fell 39% to £344m. During the first lockdown in April, revenue at travel sites was down by 90%.

Chief executive Carl Cowling said: “Since March, we have been heavily impacted by the pandemic.

“While passenger numbers continue to be significantly impacted in the UK, our North American business, where 85 per cent of passengers are domestic, is beginning to see some encouraging signs of recovery.

“We have a robust plan across all our businesses focusing on cost management and initiatives within our control which support us in the immediate term and position us well to emerge stronger as our markets recover.”

The retailer is seeing signs of recovery in North America thanks to new business.

WH Smith shares (LON: SMWH) are trading +2.14% at 1.481,00 (0855GMT).