WH Smith rethinks its product strategy

WH Smith is to launch a new format in its high-street stores using a “project-based” approach which, it believes, has bolstered its ailing subsidiary, Do It All.

In a new move under the “Project Enliven” review, WH Smith will group products under themed headings such as “Education” and “Home Office.” These could replace traditional sections such as magazines, books and videos.

The changes are part of a review of WH Smith’s formats for its high-street stores. The group is planning to open larger stores and extend existing store space through using stock rooms.

WH Smith will also open smaller stores. This is possible because of advances made in stock and delivery systems.

In another development, the store chain is to reduce its music section, and increase the space given to video. This will avoid conflicts between the chain and music subsidiaries Our Price and Virgin.

It is increasing its branding for subsidiary chains Virgin, Our Price and Waterstones, which it sees as engines for future growth. The chain has developed a new method of analysing towns to find the best combination of music and book shops for each area. This “integrated approach” could help the store group as it plans moves into small towns.

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