Business Irish

Friday 24 January 2020

Profits at Irish arm of WH Smith hit €2.45m

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Gordon Deegan

Pre-tax profits more than doubled to €2.45m last year at the Irish arm of WH Smith as the company benefited from record numbers of passengers going through Dublin Airport.

New accounts show that the company enjoyed a 120pc increase in pre-tax profits to €2.45m in the 12 months to the end of August last.

The jump in profits followed revenues at the company increasing by 7pc, going from €26.86m to €28.8m last year.

The increased profits and revenues coincided with 29.6m passengers going through Dublin Airport, where WH Smith has a number of outlets.

Numbers employed by the firm last year increased from 150 to 163, with staff costs increasing from €2.8m to €3m.

The firm also benefited from bumper sales of Paul O'Connell's memoir, Jamie Oliver's '5 Ingredients' and Graham Norton's fiction debut 'Holding' during the year under review.

The WH Smith business here was also helped by the books market growing in 2016, with overall sales increasing by 9pc to €131m.

JK Rowling's Harry Potter books were the most popular in the country in 2016 - the 'Cursed Child' sold 69,890 copies and took just over €1.3m, according to Nielsen BookScan.

The accounts disclose that the company paid a dividend of €2.5m in October 2016.

The profit last year takes account of non-cash deprecation costs of €511,717. The firm's rental payments increased from €6.11m to €6.17m.

WH Smith's 's shareholder funds at the end of August last year totalled €4.74m. The firm's cash pile increased, going from €3.3m to €3.5m.

The company increased its gross profit from €12.73m to €15.7m after the bookseller's cost of sales declined from €14.13m to €13m.

The firm recorded post tax profits of €2.14 after incurring a tax charge of €301,314.

Distribution costs totalled €12m and €1.184m in administrative expenses.

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

The strong performance by WH Smith here last year offers further confirmation of the benefits to UK booksellers expanding into Ireland.

Earlier this year, Waterstones Ireland reported that it increased its pre-tax profits by 31.5pc to €2.48m in 2017.

Irish Independent

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