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WHSmith continues to invest in it's online strategy to Grow'

WHSmith has said it has continued to invest into its online strategy and digital in its latest financial year to improve customer service.

It says it is confident of subsidiary Funkypigeon’s ability to grow, despite April’s cyber incident that has hit both its sales and profits.

Despite the attack it said Funkypigeon is recovering well from that event, adding: “We are confident of the substantial opportunities to grow the platform further, and significantly grow revenue and profits over the medium-term.”

The retailer said it has focussed on driving conversions, how its products are presented and marketing.

Its quick commerce delivery trial with Deliveroo is still ongoing from 10 shops in locations from Oxford and Cambridge to Richmond, London.

WHSmith has launched next-day delivery and a seven day a week delivery service that has been well received at Funkypigeon, the company said.

It has extended the product range and introduced product personalisation with “good results,” at Cult Pens.

The update comes despite WHSmith posting a return to profit after its shoppers returned to its physical retail store locations, of which it has 527 in the UK.

It also sells through 1,196 outlets in airports, stations, and in holiday resorts via brands including WHSmith and InMotion.

Revenue for the high street retailer came in at £1.4 billion in the year to 31 August, a 58% increase from £886 million a year prior.

Top-line pre-tax profits of £83 million were up from a loss of £51 million last time. At the bottom line, after exceptional items of £20 million, pre-tax profits of £63 million were up from a loss of £116 million a year earlier.

“2022 has been a successful year for WHSmith and we enter the new financial year with the group in its strongest-ever position as a global travel retailer with multiple growth opportunities across the world,” WHSmith group executive Carl Cowling said.

Funkypigeon revenues came in at £35 million, a fall from the £54 million recorded a year earlier.

Headline earnings before interest, tax and one-off costs where at £8 million, down from £14 million last time.

WHSmith puts the UK greetings card market at a value of £1.6 billion, saying it is stable, with a growing share of sales taking place online.

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