Profit doubles at Irish arm of WH Smith

Retailer with Dublin, Cork and Shannon airport outlets sees turnover rise 7% to €28.8m

WH Smith has outlets in Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports, as well as a concession at Arnotts department store in Dublin. Photograph: Alessia Pierdomenico/Reuters

WH Smith has outlets in Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports, as well as a concession at Arnotts department store in Dublin. Photograph: Alessia Pierdomenico/Reuters

 

The Irish arm of British retailer WH Smith saw profit in the Republic more than double last year as air passenger number increases in Dublin and Cork buoyed sales.

Recently filed accounts for WH Smith Ireland Limited show pretax profit jumped 120 per cent to €2.45 million in the 12 months ended August 31st, 2017.

That comes against the backdrop of a 7 per cent turnover increase to €28.8 million in the Irish outlets of the chain ultimately owned by London-listed company WH Smith Plc.

The retailer of books, stationary, newspapers and magazines reported a gross profit margin of 54.8 per cent in the period, up from 47.4 per cent a year previous.

That improvement came as both distribution costs and administrative expenses increased almost 15 per cent to €13.3 million.

Across its outlets in Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports, as well as a concession at Arnotts department store in Dublin, WH Smith employed 163 people in the 12-month period, up from 150 the previous year. That ultimately led to a 7 per cent increase in its salary bill to €2.76 million.

Difficult period

WH Smith Ireland’s accumulated profits now stand at €4.79 million, as the group has battled back from a difficult period during the recession, when air travel slumped.

Although it paid an interim dividend of €2.5 million in October 2016, the company still had a healthy cash balance of €3.54 million.

The Irish results follow interim results from WH Smith Plc, released on Thursday, in which the group reported a 1 per cent drop in interim pretax profit on the back of difficulties at its high street retail business. Total revenue to the end of February had fallen 5 per cent with comparable sales down 4 per cent across that division.

However, those difficulties were somewhat offset by success in its travel arm where total sales rose 7 per cent for the interim period.