WH Smith is to close around 30 stores – most of which part of its Cardmarket budget chain – as it adapts to the challenging high street conditions.
Chief executive, Stephen Clarke, said the retailer would be closing six WH Smith stores which had ‘not got a hope of making any money’ and about 24 Cardmarket outlets over the next three years.
The retailer has not confirmed how many jobs would be affected, but stated that staff would probably be redeployed to other stores as the chain continued to open new outlets in hospitals, airports and other travel hubs.
The chain said it expected to open up to 20 stores in the UK this year, about half of which would be in hospitals, and had 607 high street shops as well as 867 travel outlets around the world.
WH Smith revealed a 4% fall in pretax profits to £134m in the year to 31 August, despite a 2% rise in total sales to £1.3bn. A 7% rise in trading profit at the group’s airport, hospital and railway station stores helped offset a 3% fall in sales and profits at its high street stores.