Pre-pandemic, WH Smith’s travel division was its jewel in the crown and the business is beginning to regain its shine.
Benefiting from a captive audience of time-poor shoppers in airports and stations, the operation is able to generate healthy returns by selling a range of products from magazines, food and snacks to Bluetooth headphones.
AJ Bell’s Russ Mould said: “The company sees a big summer recovery as people jet off for their break in the sun and even the ongoing train strikes don’t seem to be denting the prospects for the travel arm to any great degree.
“With a pipeline of new stores being rolled out the company continues to execute a growth strategy which was on pause during Covid.
“All the while the high street operation continues to chug away quietly in the background – its stores may score poorly in consumer surveys but remain a profitable and cash generative part of the group. If that changes pressure may build to spin off the travel unit as a separate business.”