- Book, stationary and convenience retailer WH Smith reported a drop in revenue after its once-booming travel division was battered by border closures owing to the pandemic.

The company, however, said it had generated more cash than hoped in November and December due to better-than-expected trading in the Christmas period.

Revenue for the 20 weeks through 16 January was 59% of year-on-year levels, with revenue from stores in travel locations such as airports at just 37% of previous levels.

The high street business was doing better, with revenue over the period at 87% of year-on-year levels.

WH Smith said its cash generation for November and December was ahead of plan, with cash on deposit at the end of 2020 of £90 million and access to £320 million of committed facilities.

The company said it expected its underlying monthly cash burn for the period January to March to be around £15 million-to-£20 million per month assuming current conditions continue.

'Covid-19 continues to have a significant impact on the WH Smith group, however we are pleased with our performance over the Christmas period which was better than anticipated,' chief executive Carl Cowling said.

'We remain well placed to navigate our way through this ongoing period of uncertainty and benefit from the recovery of our key markets in due course.'

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