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WH Smith planning reshuffle of business

WH Smith is to close some stores to concentrate on those at travel terminals
WH Smith is to close some stores to concentrate on those at travel terminals

The boss of WH Smith has insisted the retailer remains committed to Britain’s high street despite launching a restructure to shut stores and call time on new initiatives.

Shares in the group tumbled as much as 12 per cent after it announced a “detailed” review of the high street business which will see it close six stores and wind down its 22-strong budget greetings card chain Cardmarket and convenience store arm WH Smith Local.

The group is instead focusing on growth opportunities for its burgeoning chain of 839 stores based at airports and train stations.

One-off costs of the review sent group pre-tax profits down four per cent to £134m for the year to August 31.

But with these costs stripped out, underlying pre-tax profits rose four per cent to £145m. The figures confirmed a tough year for the high street business, which saw trading profits fall three per cent to £60m