18 April 2016 - Janet Bird
The current craze for adult colouring books has boosted half year profits at WHSmith.
Sales of colouring books and Querkles, a colour-by-numbers book, helped WHSmith achieve pre-tax profits of £80 million in the six months to February - up from £72 million in the same period last year.
Revenue was also up four percent from the same time in 2015 at £633 million, boosted by WHSmith's best sales at Christmas for 16 years.
While the retailer's 618 high street stores achieved a trading profit of £53, like for like sales were flat and sales were down one percent compared to the same period 12 months earlier.
WHSmith's outlets in travel destinations such as railway stations and airports performed strongly, however, with total sales up 11 percent and like for like sales increasing by five percent. The retailer's 757 travel destination units made a trading profit of £35 million.
WHSmith is also moving into convenience stores, with a business dubbed 'WH LOCAL'. It has signed up 105 franchisees and has already opened 60 stores.