UK-based retailer WHSmith has announced that it will stop opening new high street stores in the UK.

According to a BBC report citing WHSmith chief executive Carl Cowling, the retailer currently operates approximately 550 high street stores in the UK and said that opening more “would just be a duplication.”

The BBC quoted Carl Cowling as saying: “We’ve got a very healthy High Street business in the UK. But we’ve got no ambitions to grow that.”

The retailer aims to focus on its travel retail business across UK airports and train stations while expanding its physical presence in the US and Europe.

Cowling stated: “We’ve got a pipeline of 60 stores to open and we’re constantly winning tenders in airports.”

WHSmith has committed to investing £120m ($151.46m) in opening new stores in the US and Europe this year.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Cowling said: “So in the first half of this year, we opened 30 shops in North America and opened another 30 shops in the second half of this year.”

The company’s biggest growth market is the US, where it claims to have gained 12% of the airport retail market.

Cowling added: “Our ambition is to get to 20% over the course of the next four years and then that will mean probably only the best parts of 150 stores.”

Meanwhile, WHSmith plans to continue investing in its shops. It has a partnership with toy and baby products retailer Toys ‘R’ Us in nine high street outlets in the UK.

The retailer also recently teamed up with charity organisation The Retail Trust for a new initiative to prioritise the health and happiness of its workforce.