WH Smith, a company known for its stationary and book sales in the UK, is looking to expand its businesses into train stations and airports in Scandinavia and Ireland, according to an article published in British newspaper The Telegraph this week.
WH Smith’s chief executive, Kate Swann, said that international expansion is one option the retailer is currently considering.
The store has branches on the UK high street and in travel locations such as airports and railways. While the high street division reported declining sales over a 21 week period, the travel division saw sales rise by the same amount. Overall, for the year, both divisions are performing well.
In fact, WH Smith has been so successful this year that the company has announced plans to give a total of £90 million back to shareholders. The majority of those funds will come in the form of dividends while the remaining £30 million will be returned through a share buyback program.
It is the growing success of the travel division that has prompted the store to expand overseas. “With the travel business [overseas expansion] is definitely an option. It is not at the top of the list at the moment but I wouldn’t rule it out,” said Kate Swann.