Irish branch of WHSmith suffers €11.5m turnover due to Covid-19

WHSmith’s Irish business recorded revenue of €11.5m, or 68%, last year due to the impact of Covid-19 on international travel.

Much of WHSmith’s Irish business is based at Dublin Airport, where passenger numbers have been decimated by Covid-related travel restrictions. In notes to the accounts, administrators at WHSmith Ireland said Covid-19 had affected trade throughout the year.

New accounts filed by WHSmith Ireland Ltd show the business recorded pre-tax losses of €3.38 million in the 12 months to the end of last August, a 43% increase on pre-tax losses of 2.36 million euros from the previous year.

Last year, the book, newspaper and magazine retailer’s revenue fell by 17 million euros to 5.49 million euros. This compares to a turnover of 33.29 million euros in 2019.

The number of employees in the company has more than halved, from 133 to 56.

The directors said that “management has focused on initiatives under its control which have supported the group in the immediate term and have placed the group in a good position to emerge operationally stronger as our markets continue to recover”.

The accounts show the pre-tax loss would have been higher without the €767,387 in payments from the government’s Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme last year, in addition to the €325,389 received in Covid-19 wage support in 2020.

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