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WH Smith to restructure high street, close 6 stores amid challenging environment

Retailer WH Smith announced on Thursday it would restructure its High Street business following the results of a recent review prompted by the challenging retail environment.

It said it would wind down trial initiatives, including Cardmarket and WH Smith Local, and close around six high street stores.

This comes as the company reported High Street trading profit for the 12 months to 31 August of £60m, compared with £62m for the same period in 2017. Total revenue also fell, losing 3% year on year.

The business review also impacted Group pre-tax profit, which stood at £134m, compared with £140m in 2017. However, the Travel arm, which accounts for over half of the firm's sales and two-thirds of its profits, saw revenue grow 8% and trading profit rise 7% to £103m. Total Group revenue grew 2% to £1,262m.

"While there is some uncertainty in the economic environment, we are pleased with the start to the new year in both businesses, and will continue to focus on profitable growth, cash generation and new opportunities to profitably invest for the future. We are well positioned for the current year and beyond," said Stephen Clarke, Group Chief Executive.

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