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WH Smith plans gradual re-opening and new Heathrow flagship store

WH Smith PLC (LON:SMWH) said it is planning a gradual re-opening schedule across its international territories, UK travel and high street channels.

The FTSE 250-listed firm has been operating its online platform as well as around 333 stores located in hospitals and post offices in the UK, but revenue slumped 85% in April as expected due to closures and low levels of visitors in the active shops.

The newsagents chain is to open a new flagship store at Heathrow Airport in the second half of the year, adding it is “well positioned” to benefit from other shop closures in travel locations.

READ: WH Smith raises £166mln in share placing amid coronavirus disruption[hhmc]

It is also expanding its presence in another two Marks & Spencer Group PLC (LON:MKS) stores.

The firm expects a gradual improvement in air traffic from the autumn initially led by domestic travel, particularly in the US where it accounts for 80% of total passengers, followed by regional, international and inter-continental passengers.

Rail is also expected to see a recovery in the autumn, but some analysts see it as an overly optimistic forecast.

"To get back on its feet WH Smith needs airports and train stations to be busy and global travel to be whirring back into action. It suggests that could start to happen in the autumn but this could prove to be over-optimistic," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

“For now, it must simply rely on peRead More – Source
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