WH Smith to launch major book promotion

Troubled retailer WH Smith is launching what it claims will be its biggest book offer, giving shoppers the chance to “buy one get one half price” on 23,000 lines.

The promotion comes just a week after the retailer warned the City that it would not meet full-year profit forecasts for 2003 because of weak sales.

The offer will cover all WH Smith’s books, including fiction, children’s, audio and non-fiction as well as new releases and expected best-sellers.

The promotion is designed to build on a summer promotion that has given consumers the opportunity to buy two books for £10 from a limited range of titles, which WH Smith claims boosted growth in the fiction book market by seven per cent.

The new promotion, which will last until October 7, is to be supported by TV and press advertising, expected to break on September 8. Two TV ads will run across ITV1, Channel 4, Five and satellite channels. Point-of-purchase material will also be featured in WH Smith windows and in store.

The promotion comes at a time of change for the retailer, which is preparing to revamp its 770-strong UK store portfolio and to develop a travel concept store, as well as a new local store format. It is also awaiting the arrival of chief executive Kate Swann, who joins from Argos where she was managing director. She is expected to make radical changes to the business.

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