Retailer WH Smith to Cut up to 1,500 Jobs in the UK

August 5, 2020 Updated: August 5, 2020

British retailer WH Smith announced on Wednesday that up to 1,500 jobs could be cut due to the impact of the CCP virus. This is a part of the group’s proposed plans to restructure its UK store operations.

The decision to restructure is a result of low passenger numbers and low footfall on the UK high street, WH Smith said in a statement.

In April, WH Smith’s airport and train station store revenue was down 92 percent year-on-year, while high street store revenue was down 71 percent. It has seen encouraging improvement since stores reopened in June. In July, travel and high street revenue was down 73 percent and 25 percent year-on-year, respectively.

The retailer said it expects to deliver a headline loss before tax for the financial year ending Aug. 31, 2020, of between 70 million pounds ($92 million) and 75 million pounds ($98 million), compared with a headline pretax profit of 155 million pounds ($203 million) last year.

The restructure is estimated to cost between 15 million pounds ($20 million) and 19 million pounds ($25 million).

WH Smith said it anticipated a faster recovery of its revenue in the United States then the rest of the world, because approximately 85 percent of U.S. travel passengers are domestic.

“While we are mindful of the continuing uncertainties that exist, we are a resilient and versatile business,” WH Smith Group Chief Executive Carl Cowling said in a statement. “We are well positioned to benefit in due course from the recovery of our key markets.”

Shares in the company rose higher on the announcement and were up 4.4 percent at 1,029 pence (1,349 cent) by 8:50 a.m. GMT.

Tens of thousands of jobs have evaporated in Britain due to the impact of CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, pandemic. Well-known brands such as Upper Crust, Marks & Spencer, and John Lewis were among those announcing job cuts, a situation that some have called a “high street bloodbath.”

Reuters contributed to this report