High street retailer WHSmith has this morning said it plans to convert its entire 17-strong café portfolio to its Coffee House format before rolling it out further.
It follows “encouraging” results from the five hospital locations it has trialled the format.
The company said: “ Whilst it gives us an opportunity in Hospital cafés, we also have been trialling a Coffee House counter within WHSmith stores in Liverpool Women’s Hospital and Carlisle Railway Station to provide a coffee offer and to optimise the space in each of these locations. We now plan to extend the trial into more WHSmith stores in existing regional rail and hospital sites.”
Reporting on trade for this six months to 29 February this morning, the company said its travel business was performing well. In air, total sales were up 6% with like-for-like sales also up 6%; in rail, total sales were up 6% with like-for-likes up 5%; and in hospitals, total sales were up 23% with like-for-likes up 5%. Nine new stores were opened in hospitals over the past year.
In its high street business, the group saw profit up 6% to £53m. Like-for-like sales were flat with total sales down 1%, driven by the performance in the five weeks to 2 January 2016 when like-for-like sales were up 2%.