WH Smith has unveiled plans to open round 100 new journey shops after launching a £325 bond providing in convertible bonds, regardless of reporting losses in its half-year outcomes.

The group, which additionally secured a £250m revolving credit score facility with an prolonged maturity to 2025, mentioned the funds will help the opening of its new journey shops each gained and but to open over the subsequent three years, in addition to new development alternatives. 

The rest of the funds might be used to partially pay down its current £400m of time period loans from each the Marshall Retail Group and InMotion acquisitions. 

The announcement comes because the group revealed its half-year outcomes, reporting a pre-tax lack of £17m within the interval ending 28 February 2021.

Whereas its journey enterprise swung to a lack of £31m within the interval, this was partially offset by a High Street trading revenue of £33m.  

Nonetheless, its UK journey enterprise has “continued to be impacted by a major decline in passenger numbers” because of ongoing journey restrictions all through the primary half of the monetary yr. 

Complete income on this enterprise was £79m, down from £271m the prior yr. In comparison with 2019, air was 16%, its hospital channel was 71% and rail was 22%. This resulted in a buying and selling lack of £19m, down from a revenue of £40m.

Regardless of this, the group mentioned it was an “encouraging efficiency” regardless of the continued influence from Covid-19, with “good outcomes throughout all key markets” from its centered plan on buyer conversion, growing common transaction worth (ATV), class improvement and value administration.

Carl Cowling, group CEO, mentioned: “In Journey, whereas lots of our shops have remained closed, it’s a credit score to the crew that we now have stored up the momentum, specializing in our plan to extend common transaction worth and spend per passenger whereas persevering with to win new enterprise.  Consequently, we at the moment are operationally stronger than previous to the pandemic. 

“We’ve got a robust pipeline of recent retailer openings with c.100 shops already gained and as a result of open in Journey over the subsequent three years, the vast majority of these in North America.  We’re an vital retail associate for our journey landlords and we’re nicely positioned to make the most of additional area alternatives that can come up over the approaching months.” 

He added: “In a troublesome retail setting, our Excessive Avenue enterprise has generated a resilient efficiency.  On the similar time, we’re happy that our on-line companies, together with funkypigeon.com, have delivered a document efficiency.

“We’ve got positioned the Group nicely.  We’re financially robust because of the actions we now have taken, and the brand new financing preparations additionally introduced at the moment will put us in a fair stronger place to capitalise on the expansion of our key markets and make the most of the numerous thrilling alternatives forward.”

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