Irish arm of WH Smith posts pretax profits of €5m

Revenue at retailer hits €35.76m

The Irish arm of retailer WH Smith last year delivered its best performance here as revenue rose to a record €35.76 million and pretax profits hit €5.04 million in the 12 months to the end of August last.

Accounts show that WH Smith Ireland Ltd, mainly an airport-based business, benefited from the lifting of Covid-19 air travel restrictions. .

The pretax profit made this the retailer’s most profitable year in Ireland to date and marks a turnaround in the company’s fortunes post Covid-19.

During the two Covid-19 fiscal years of 2021 and 2020, WH Smith Ireland recorded pretax losses of €3.38 million and €2.36 million as Covid-19 air travel restrictions decimated the UK headquartered retailer’s business here.


Revenue at the book, magazine and newspaper selling business plunged to €5.49 million in the 12 months to the end of August 2021 due to Covid but rebounded last year as they increased more than six fold to €35.76 million.

The business bounced back as just over 28.1 million passengers travelled through Dublin Airport last year, representing a 231 per cent increase on 2021 activity and an 85 per cent recovery on 2019 levels.

The retailer’s financial performance last year topped pre-Covid 19 revenues of €33.2 million in the 12 months to the end of August 2019.

The bulk of the retailer’s stores are located at Dublin Airport where it has six outlets in terminal one and three in terminal two. The retailer also has three outlets at Shannon Airport and two at Cork airport while it also has a store at Arnotts Dublin.

In the report the directors said that “despite some disruption from Covid-19 in the first half, it has been a year of substantial progress supported by the group’s key pillars of strategy and our forensic approach to retailing”.

The firm last year received €671,424 in Government Covid-19 wage supports as the pandemic continued to impact on the business in the first half of the year and this followed €767,387 received under that heading in the prior year.

The profit also takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of €679,804. The firm recorded post tax profits of €4.38 million after paying corporation tax of €657,266.

Numbers employed by the company more than doubled last year from 56 to 119 as staff costs totalled €2 million.

At the end of last August the firm had accumulated profits of €5.3 million. The firm’s cash funds reduced from €762,763 to €591,195.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times