Across the board profit growth at WH Smith
Shareholders of WH Smith are set for a payday after the group proposed an increased final dividend driven by across the board profit growth. The retail giant also announced an additional share buyback of £50m.
The Swindon-headquartered company posted pre-tax profit of £112m for the year to 31 August 2014, up from £103m a year earlier.
Trading profit in its travel division also rose by 11 per cent to £73m, with sales up 4 per cent. In its high street division, the group posted trading profit growth of 4 per cent.
However, high street sales were down 6 per cent with total group sales declining by 3 per cent on a like for like basis to £1.16bn.
The board of WH Smith proposed a final dividend of 24.2p , a 14 per cent increase on 2013.
It also announced a share buyback of up to £50m after completing a £50m buyback during the period, which it announced in October last year.
"The distinct strategies for each of our businesses continue to deliver good profit growth," said group chief executive Stephen Clarke.
"We had another record year in travel, driven by an increase in total sales of 4 per cent and continued improvement in like-for-like sales, which were up 1 per cent in the second half.
"The group is highly cash generative and as a result we have announced today a further share buyback of up to £50m and a 14 per cent increase in the full year dividend.
"Looking ahead, our focus will remain on profitable growth, cash generation and investing in new opportunities that position us well for the future."