Festive Period Boosts WH Smith Sales

Wednesday, 23rd January: The 20-week period leading up to the 19th January 2019 was a positive on for WH Smith, who announced a 6% increase in sales, and the completion of the acquisition of InMotion at the end of November 2018, which has allowed them to tap into the US market. The continuous rise in travel sales continued to move the focus further away from high streets to airports and train stations. The positive trading update allowed the group to float to the surface of the FTSE 250 in the morning and remain there for the entirety of the day.

Metro Bank unfortunately did not receive the same treatment from the market when they released their own trading update, as it sent them more than 30.0% lower at one point in the first half of the day. This was because the update included a profit warning due to a “soft” end to the year, and an error on their own behalf regarding how they accounted for some of their commercial loans. The news was more than enough to distract the market from the pre-tax profit increase on 138% on the previous year, as it was still almost £10.0 million short from forecasts. During the second half of the day, the shares continued to suffer and were more than 35.0% lower at c.£14.20, their lowest since admission to the FTSE 250.

The FTSE 100 continued to fall on Wednesday as it opened 0.43% lower in the morning and continued to gradually drop throughout the day. The strengthening of the pound has contributed to this, and it has been the only currency to outperform the US dollar over the past five days. GBP/USD surpassed $1.30 on Wednesday afternoon for the first time in roughly two months.

The FTSE 100 failed to make a comeback and ended the day 0.85% lower at 6843.

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