WH Smith closes higher by 10% as cash position not as bad as feared



© Reuters.

By Samuel Indyk

Investing.com – UK retailer WH Smith PLC (LON:) closed at its highest level since March on Wednesday, as strong Christmas trading provided investors confidence that the business is in control of its cash burn.

“We generated cash during November and December and ended December with a stronger cash position than anticipated with liquidity of £90m, which is materially ahead of our original plan,” Group CEO Carl Cowling said. Nevertheless, the retailer said they still expect to burn through £15-20m per month in the first quarter of 2021 if restrictions due to the COVID pandemic continue through March.

Although much of the UK remains under restrictions, WH Smith said the majority of its stores in the UK remain open, including 130 hospital stores serving frontline workers in the NHS.

REVENUE

Despite the relatively strong Christmas trading, was lower than the same period in 2019. In December 2020, group revenue was just 67% of the revenue made in the same month of 2019, with travel revenue just 36% for the same period.

BREXIT

On changes since the end of the Brexit transition period, WH Smith said they have not experienced any disruption and do not anticipate that it will have a material impact on its ability to import stock in the year ahead.

At the close, WH Smith shares were up 10.4% at GBP 17.17.

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