Sunday 18 August 2019

Airport sales make good reading for WH Smith profit

‘Letters to My Daughters’ by the late Emma Hannigan boosted sales at WH Smith
‘Letters to My Daughters’ by the late Emma Hannigan boosted sales at WH Smith

Gordon Deegan

Pre-tax profits increased by 37pc to €3.36m at the Irish arm of WH Smith as the company benefited from record numbers of passengers going through Dublin Airport.

New accounts show the company enjoyed the sharp rise in pre-tax profits in the 12 months to the end of last August as revenues increased 8pc from €28.8m to €31.1m.

WH Smith operated nine stores at Dublin Airport in the period under review and the business shared in the dividend from the record 31.5 million passengers travelling through the airport in 2018.

The retail firm today operates eight stores at Dublin Airport and two at Cork Airport, while it also maintains a presence at Shannon Airport.

Sales of 'Letters to My Daughters' by the late Emma Hannigan, 'Holding' by Graham Norton and the 'Aisling' novels by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen helped sales at the business during the year.

The figures show the business repaid some of its parent company's investment in the Irish market, with directors approving a dividend payout of €4.5m during the year.

Numbers employed at the business during the year increased from 163 to 166. Staff costs remained at the same level in 2018 at €3.03m.

The company's gross margin was 55.7pc last year compared to 54.8pc in 2017.

The profit last year takes account of non-cash deprecation costs of €459,039. The retailer's rental payments increased from €6.17m to €6.74m.

The firm's shareholder funds at the end of August last year totalled €3.2m. The company's cash pile decreased from €3.5m to €1.6m.

The firm increased its gross profit from €15.7m to €17.35m after the firm's cost of sales increased from €13m to €13.8m. The firm recorded post-tax profits of €2.94m after incurring a tax charge of €423,822. The company's distribution costs totalled €12.7m and €1.25m in administrative expenses.

WH Smith opened its first two stores at Shannon Airport in 2009 before opening at Dublin Airport.

Irish Independent

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