Market Watch: WH Smith sales take off as travel branches drive growth
HIGH street stalwart WH Smith is expected to reveal improved like-for-like sales as it continues with its strategy to expand its UK travel arm and international division.
The travel business, which features stores at airports, railway stations and motorway service areas, has helped offset declines in the under-pressure high street outlets in recent months.
The travel arm now makes up 50 per cent of the group’s pre-tax profits and analysts expect it to continue being the key driver for growth, supported by its plans to expand internationally.
Seymour Pierce analyst Kate Calvert said: “The business model is becoming increasingly more flexible as travel accounts for a greater proportion of group underlying earnings and its high street position is benefiting from market consolidation.”
The group is also expected to give an update on the success of the Kobo e-reader, which it introduced to stores this year to compete with Amazon’s Kindle.
Half-year figures from the UK’s biggest pawnbroker, H&T Group, will be scrutinised for further signs of a slowdown in its gold arm.
The group, which has 174 stores and 55 “GoldBar” units, revealed in June that the gold purchasing division – a star performer in recent years – had “experienced competitive pressure on margins” as gold prices softened and competition increased.
This followed a warning from rival Albemarle & Bond that annual profits would be lower than expected due to the falling price of gold and the possible impact of dismal weather.
But H&T said it still expects a good first half as its core pawnbroking operations are expected to report double-digit year-on-year growth in the six months to 30 June.
Monday: Amlin, Bovis Homes
Tuesday: Glencore, H&T Pawnbrokers, Johnston Press, John Wood Group, Persimmon
Wednesday: Carillion, Melrose Resources
Thursday: Aegis, Costain, Diageo, IMI, SIG, Signet, Sportech, STV
Friday: Aga Rangemaster, second estimate of GDP figure for second quarter
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Tuesday 18 June 2013
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