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WH Smith – Now A Travel Company

WH Smith PLC SMWH has now become a travel company rather than a high street retailer, as for the first time, Travel revenue has overtaken High Street revenue. Travel has now become the largest part of the group producing over 60% of group trading profit. Preliminary results for the year to the 31st August show a rise of 7% in group profit before tax and a 10% increase in the dividend, which is accompanied by a share buy back of up to 50m. The company describes its performance as good, despite total revenue for the year being completely flat, with a like for like 4% increase in travel revenue, offsetting the 4% decline in the High Street.

SKY plc SKY has made a strong start to the year with excellent profit growth in the first quarter despite a fall in the UK advertisng market and pressure on consumer spending. Like for like revenue grew by 5% and EBITDA by 11%. In fact whichever part of the business you look at, it has produced growth. Purchases of pay as you go sports and entertainment have risen by 12% and viewings of pay channels are up by 10%. Further growth is expected as the year progresses and the key target is now Europe.

Hays plc HAS produced another record quarterly net fee performance, with widespread growth throughout the group. Continental Europe, again led by Germany, and the rest of the World saw a rise of 13% and 13 additional countries had growth rates in excess of 10%. The UK and Ireland were again laggards with a mere 1%, the temp business being flat and negatively affected by tough market conditions in the public sector. There were also wide and unexplained regional variations in the UK with the South West and Wales up by 14% but the East of England showing a steep decline of 11%

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