WH Smith profits jump 29%

High street stationery retailer WH Smith has reported a 29% rise in profits despite declining sales and is set to hand chief executive Kate Swann a bumper bonus of more than £3m as part of an incentive scheme.

WH Smith reported a 29% rise in profits in the year ending August 31, rising from £51m last year to a better-than-expected £66m, yet like-for-like sales dropped 4%.

Commenting on the results, Swann said: “We have delivered another year of strong profit performance, with group profits up 29% and strong free cashflow of £81m. Our Travel business grew strongly, and our high street business made further progress in line with its plan. In an uncertain consumer environment, we expect the key Christmas season to be very competitive, however we have planned accordingly.”

Swann is widely credited for the retailer’s recent success by returning its focus on books and stationery and the incentive plan aims to keep her at the company for at least three years.

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